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Titt. 

CONSORT AND RELICT 



OF 



THE REV. JOHfUP&EpfyHER, 

VICAR OF MADELY, $&!&?'■ 
COMPILED FROM HER JOURNAL, 



AND OTHER AUTHENTIC DOCUMENTS. 



BY HENRY MOORE. 



|a end of the Commandment i» Charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience , ana si" 
.a ith unfeigned 1 Tyn. i. 5, 

By faiih... .choosing- rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to er.j. y the pleasures 
if sin for a season Heb. xi. 25, 

These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever hegoeth Rev. »v. 4, 






Pl'BLISHED BY Tr' SOVtE AND T. MJSON, FOE THE METKOL1SJ 
EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES. 

>♦< 

Abraham Paul, printer. 

1818. 



PREFACE. 



— »©«— 



i\ SHORT time after I was appointed to the Birming- 
ham District, the papers of the late Mrs. Fletcher were 
put into my hands. I was informed at the same time, 
that the venerable person whose life was recorded \u 
them, had mentioned me as one that she wished should 
prepare and publish her papers ; and that an application 
to that effect would have been made to me before that 
time, but that the distance of my former appointment had 
prevented it, Mrs. Fletcher having laid an injunction o:\ 
her friend, to whom, by will, she had committed them, 
not to give them absolutely into the hands of any person 
whatsoever. 

I examined those papers with no common interest. 
They gave an account not only of the writer's own life, 
but involved, in some respects, that of her admirable 
husband. I was certain that those records were desired, 
and would be received, by the most pious in these king-, 
doms, not as a common religious biography, but as the 
record of an uncommon work of God : and that they 
would not be expected to fall short of any account which 
has come forth in that great revival of scriptural Chris- 
tianity in our day, concerning which we have so often 
been constrained to say, What hath God -z rough*. ? 

I have often wished to see such a display of that work 
as would show its genuine nature and fruits, free from 



»V PREFACE. 



the colouring of those writers who were not directly 
concerned in it ; or of those who might be so anxious 
about its public reputation, as to forget, that the circum- 
cision of the heart, is justified only by those children of 
the light and of the day who prove Its power, and cry 
Abba, Father, by the Spirit of adoption; and whose praise 
is not of men but of God. It is much to be desired also 
to see such an account made living and powerful by 
being personified ; — to see an individual thus walking 
ivorthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in 
every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of 
God. 

A general History of this work, including all the 
important circumstances, has been already published, 
especially in the journals of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, 
the father of Methodism, so called. In these we see, 
us in the Gospel, the grain of mustard seed, increasing 
and becoming a great tree, to the astonishment of those 
who witnessed its small beginning, — who i; saw the cloud 
arise little as a human hand." The display given us in 
that account, is distinguished by the same simplicity, 
purity, and classical beauty, which are observable in all 
the writings of that eminent instrument of God. This 
large survey is highly satisfactory ; but the aid of living 
testimony is necessary to bring it home to the hearts of 
(hose whose inquiry is, What shall I do to be saved? 
How shall / walk with God ? 

Religion is nothing less than the life of God in the 
soul of man. It is the offspring of God through faith, 
and is not, and cannot, be attached to churches or reli- 
gious communities, though they are so highly necessary 
to its propagation and increase. It never was so attached ; 
though while the covenant of God was established with 



PREFACE. 



the nation of the Jews, it had that appearance. But 
even then, all were not Israel, who were of Israel. TV 
children of the promise, and not the children of the flesh, 
were counted for the seed. The Gospel, however, to the 
stumbling of the greatest part of that people, put an end 
to that appearance. The national covenant answered 
the design of Him who gave it. It foretold, typified, and 
prepared the way, of the only begotten Son of God. But 
who could abide the day of his coming? Who could stand 
when he appeared? It is true He was meek and lowly in 
heart, and his every word and action towards even the 
greatest transgressors, demonstrated that He came not to 
destroy men's lives, but to save them. But he exposed 
and resisted all those who walked in the deceivableness 
of unrighteousness, and who boasted, like their fathers, 
raying, Tlie temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, 
the temple of the Lord are we! He looked for personal 
religion ; and all who attached it to names, ordinances, 
or communities, he answered with— Ye worship ye knoxo 
not what. He enforced poverty of spirit, mourning., 
meekness, mercifulness, and purity of heart; showing thus 
the beginning and progress of religion, as given to guilty, 
sinful, helpless creatures, in whom dwells no good thin* • 
and who are thus to be made rich in faith, and heirs of 
the kingdom of heaven : and who thus alone can be made 
new creatures, and meet for the inheritance amono- the 
saints in light, whose robes are washed and made white in 
the blood of the Lamb. 

These pure and high principles of Holy Writ, so 
agreeable to the exalted character of Jehovah, and to 
the fallen and wretched condition of man, were sought 
out and adopted by the band of brothers in the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, nearly ninety years ago. One sxeui 

1 * 



v l PREFACE. 

truth involved the whole, as necessary to salvation— 
Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. They imme- 
diately followed after this, making every sacrifice, and 
ordering their whole life that they might attain it. Some 
time after the Lord showed them, that His way of con- 
ferring holiness was by faith? and that he justifies men, 
as being ungodly, through the redemption that is in Jesus, 
before he sanctifies them. They now knew the whole 
truth, and the Lord thrust them forth from their beloved 
retirement, to raise a holy people. This was the one 
design of these chosen instruments, and every thing 
short of it they counted, to use the language of St. Paul, 
~±vood, hay, or stubble. 

But did they spend their strength for nought? Were 
they disappointed of their hope ? Were not a holy 
people raised up ? Let the Life of Mrs. Fletcher speak. 
Let the pious reader say, if he be not introduced, in 
these memoirs, among the excellent of the earth ; — All 
of whom with one voice would testify, 

" Blind we were, but new we see, 
Deaf, we hearken, Lord ! to Thee : 
Dumb, for Thee our tongues employ, 
Lame, and lo ! we leap for joy." 

" Some who have separated from other communities," 
says Mr. Wesley, " laid the foundation of that work, in 
judging and condemning others : we, on the contrary, 
in judging and condemning ourselves." 

I cannot therefore but greatly rejoice that these me- 
moirs are given to the public, and especially to that 
community of which the writer was so long a highly 
honoured and useful member. I cannot but think they 
will be a great blessing to the people of God of every 
denomination ; and especially to all who desire to walk 



PREFACE. Vll 

even as Christ also walked, and who are conscious of an 
evil nature, opposing that will of God which is their sanc- 
tification. In this point of view especially, these me- 
moirs will be considered, I think, as very precious to 
all who fight this good fight of faith. The reader will 
find in them no paint, nothing to set the writer off ; no 
extravagance, but plain life raised and sanctified by con- 
stant attention to the duties and sacrifices of the Gospel; 
and issuing in a constant pleading of the great and pre- 
cious promises, by which we are made partakers of the 
Divine Nature : with unremitting efforts to walk by that 
rule, whether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to 
the glory of God. 

Luther observed, that there never was a work of 
God in the earth that lasted longer, in any community, 
than the common life of man ; that is, upon an aver- 
age, about thirty years. Generally about that period, 
the vineyard which the Lord planted with his own righx- 
hand, has been let out to husbandmen, who, yielding to 
iheir natural propensities, and accommodating the work 
of the Lord to the course of this world, have not been 
careful to render to Him the required fruit. Hence the 
visible state of decay, or of death, in those communi- 
ties which once manifested the Divine hand of Him who 
formed them. But this work has lasted nearly thrice 
that time ! There are none alive who witnessed its be- 
ginning, and but very few who knew its early days. If 
any such meet with this work, they will call to mind the 
very glorious time when it was altogether the work of 
God; when it was unsupported by any worldly power 
or wisdom, and had all that is earthly, sensual, and devilish, 
combined against it. They will see also a consistency 
in the design, and in the mode of execution, which is 



Vlll PREFACE. 

truly edifying, and not of this world. The instruments 
employed in this work, and especially that one so emi- 
nently called thereto, were not careful for such pros- 
perity as worldly men desire. They knew, like their 
blessed Master, that all whom their Father gave them would 
come unto them, and they did not desire to bring the world 
into his fold. The world is called, and redeemed ; but 
to add to the family of God all who obeyed that call, was 
their only ambition, and the object of their incessant 
labours. 

The great superintendent of this work, under God, 
looked not for what the world calls great talents in his 
helpers. In this respect also he gladly used those whom 
the Father gave him ; who were witnesses of the truths 
which they were called to teach. Men who knew God 
(in the only way in which he can be truly and power- 
fully known) as being mercifid to their unrighteousness, and 
remembering their sins no more. He was careful also to 
see that the true fruit accompanied their ministry,' — 
The justification of the ungodly, and the sanctification of the 
unholy. He used to say, " The best physician is not he 
who writes the best recipes, but he who makes the 
most cures." When men of learning united with him 
in this divine work, he greatly rejoiced, and gladly re- 
ceived them. The late Mr. Fletcher was an eminent 
instance of that kind. His learning was deep, exten- 
sive, clear, and various ; but like his venerable friend, 
whom he always called Father, he counted even all these 
estimable advantages as dung and dross for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. So abased was 
this great man in his own eyes, and so entirely did he 
take the divine mould of the Gospel, that there was not 
one of those helpers in the work whom he did not re- 



PREFACE. IX 

joice to call his brother in Christ, and whom he did not 
in honour prefer to himself, even in his own parish. 

The private members also were men and women of 
God ; and among these Miss Bosanquet always held in 
general estimation the chief place. Her superiority in 
natural and providential gifts, — her well-known entire 
devotednesSj — her constancy and perseverance in the 
divine life, — her doing and suffering the whole will of 
her Master, all fitted her, as by a general consent, to be 
the consort of that great man whose praise is in all the 
churches ; whose admirable writings will live while piety 
and learning are honoured in the earth ; and which have 
forced even those who did not know his piety, or affected 
(o lament that such talents should be so connected, to 
acknowledge his great superiority. 

That the highest principles of the Christian religion 
should be brought into common life, is the greatest dis- 
play of the power of divine truth that is possible, and 
the most glorious victory over the world. It is thus that 
righteousness shall cover the earth, and bring glory to Him 
that sitteth upon the throne. How poor, how questiona- 
ble, are all the refinements of the closet, the study, or 
the cloister, when compared with the love of God and 
our neighbour, brought into act, and exhibited on right 
principles, amidst the common concerns and labours of 
life, and attended with its usual trials, afflictions, and 
mortifications ! To persevere thus, is indeed the perse- 
verance of the saints, and realizes that old saying, too 
often quoted by pride and apathy, — " It is a sight wor- 
thy of God, when he looks down from heaven, to see 
a virtuous mind unswervingly struggling with adversity.' 5 
Such a sight, I trust, the pious reader will behold in the 



X PREFACE. 

Life of Mrs. Fletcher. Her one support in all her 
trials was, in substance, that of Job, — He knoweth the way 
that I take, and when he hath tried me, I shall come forthkcs 
gold. 

What indeed can be so interesting to a mind well in- 
formed and disposed, as to behold the daily walk of one, 
who from a very early age had devoted her whole life 
to God ? Not living in seclusion, but walking in what Je- 
remiah calls the highway, — the way of holiness, in which 
the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err ? To see 
our Lord's sermon on the Mount brought into daily and 
hourly practice, according to the evident design of its 
Divine Author. To see the house thus built upon the rock, 
the truth and love of God ; and then to behold the rains 
descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow and beat 
upon it I Surely they who contemplate the scene, and be- 
hold its stability, will exultingly exclaim, — It falls not; 
for it is founded upon a rock ! 

That such a person should be judged by men in the flesh, 
while living to God in the spirit, will not be surprising to 
any who learn what religion is by the word and Spirit of 
God, and who know the real character of man. Mrs. 
Fletcher was thus judged. The common imputations she 
outlived, or lived-down. One perhaps may remain. It 
may still perhaps be said, she was an enthusiast. To 
many who use this word no answer need be returned. 
Any thing above the dead form of godliness is with them 
enthusiasm. A love to him who first loved us, and who gave 
himself for us, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God,. 
which would at all equal in its attachment the love that is 
of earth and sense, is with them all madness, folly, or 
hypocrisy : wisdom is justified only by her children. 



rilEFACE. Xi 

But more sober minds may object, that she too mach 
minded impressions, dreams, and those inward feelings, 
which religious persons are supposed to be particularly 
exposed to. That such things should be condemned, toto 
eeriere, is hardly consistent with any true religion, see- 
ing the oracles of God so frequently mention them ; and 
not as attached to the prophetic or ministerial character, 
but as given to those who walk with God in the humblest 
path of life. The wisest and best of men have not only 
jspoken of such things with respect, but have made them 
a part of the religion which they have held forth to ages 
and generations, to communities and kingdoms. Con- 
cerning religious feelings and impressions, the liturgy of 
the Church of England, and her established institutes, 
feear the fullest and most honourable testimony ; setting 
the highest value on that mode of divine teaching, and of 
bestowing encouragement and consolation. We know 
the worship of our Church is so constituted, as, if pos- 
sible, to impress the whole nation ; but there are parts 
of it that can only be considered as describing and edify- 
ing the children of God. How striking are those passages 
in the communion service, where those who spiritually 
tat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood, are said, agree- 
ably to the Holy Scriptures, to dwell in Christ, -and Christ 
in them ; to be one with Christ, and Christ with them ! And 
in the seventeenth article, where there is the strongest 
description of those adopted children of God, (so strong 
indeed in some of the terms, that not a few have mistaken 
this scriptural account of them, as descriptive of Mr. 
Calvin's system) "alio by the counsel of God, are delivered 
from the curse and damnation dice to sin, and brought through 
Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. 
,; Wherefore t'.iev which be endued with so excellent a 



XH PREFACE, 

benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by 
his Spirit working in due season : they through grace 
obey the calling : they be justified freely : they be made 
sons of God by adoption : they be made like unto the 
image of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ : they walk 
religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, 
they attain to everlasting felicity." And " as this godly 
consideration of their election in Christ is full of sweet, 
pleasant, and unspeakable comfort — to such as feel in them- 
selves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the 
works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing 
up their mind to high and heavenly things, so it doth greatly 
establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation, and 
fervently kindle their love to God.'''' 

Now with all this life, union, and holy fellowship, are 
there no corresponding feelings and enjoyments ? No 
tasting the powers of the world to come ? No lively impres- 
sions of their heavenly inheritance ? No consciousness of 
His love to them, or their love to Him, in whom they dwell ? 
JVo peace or joy in believing ?• — If this were indeed so, 
then I am afraid, the life, the union, of which those feel- 
ings and impressions have been considered as the gra- 
cious marks, have no real existence ; and the system 
which boasts of a peace, of which the possessor has no 
consciousness, a joy which raiseth not " the mind to high 
and heavenly things," and a hope which is not full of 
immortality, may triumphantly take its place in the Con~ 
gregation of the dead ! 

But it will be asked, did she not lay an undue stress 
upon these things ? I believe nqt. 1 have not perceived 
it. On the contrary, I have seen, even when she believ- 
ed herself led by the Spirit of God to do that good which 
w-m the settled purpose, of her whole life, she mani- 



PREFACE. JUlli 

jested the greatest care to walk according to St. John's 
direction, Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the 
spirits whether they be of God. In obedience to this, she 
considered and pondered all her ways, and brought every 
purpose and act to the only sure touchstone, the unerr- 
ing word of God. The same charge was often brought 
against Mr. Wesley, and for precisely the same reasons. 
Answering the most respectable of those who thus laid 
to his charge things that he knew not ; viz. Dr. Gibson, the 
venerable Bishop of London, he replies, " In the whole 
compass of language, there is not a proposition which 
belongs less to me than this. I have declared again and 
again, that I make the word of God the rule of all my actions ; 
and that I no more follow any secret impulse instead 
thereof, than I follow Mahomet or Confucius." 

Let Mrs. Fletcher be weighed in this balance, and 1 
believe she will not be found wanting. She, like Mr. 
Wesley, and her excellent husband, served God in new- 
ness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Hence 
her life was hid with Christ in God, and she had impres- 
sions, and consolations, which are the fruits and evidences 
of that life. But she well knew that the Spirit of truth 
never contradicts, never is inconsistent with Himself. 
His written Oracles, and his lively, and life-giving teach- 
ing, agree together. She humbly and earnestly attended 
to that direction-^-to the law, and to the testimony .; if they 
speak not according to this word, it is because there is no 
light in them. A writer of the present day has strangely 
said, that he knew of no witness, no influence, no teach- 
ing, but the written word of God. Perhaps he does not 
know any other. But there are many who walk with 
God who do. But if that writer only means, that he 



AlV PREFACE. 

knows, or acknowledges, no witness, no influence, no 
teaching, that is contrary to that holy word, or that is 
inconsistent with its one design, to save us from all sin, 
into all holiness, every true Christian will applaud the 
sentiment. Mrs. Fletcher was watchful in this respect 
being aware of the danger. Hence, though she might 
err, she never deviated from the path. She might mis- 
take ; but she was always preserved from any departure 
from her God. 

The pious reader will be glad to be assured, that the 
whole of these memoirs are from Mrs. Fletcher's pen. 
In compiling her life, I have left out much valuable mat- 
ter, which was either contained, in substance, in other 
parts of these memoirs, or were not of sufficient inter- 
est to appear in the publication. I have also compressed 
what I thought was redundant, that the work might not 
be needlessly swelled. I have also thought it right to 
press her sentences into more conciseness. She wrote 
in the fulness of her heart, and with admirable sense ; 
but her style was rather too copious, and sometimes too 
diffuse, for Narrative or History. But I have taken care, 
at the same time, to give the admirable issues of her 
enlightened mind, with all the force and simplicity with 
which she recorded them. 

Those who have read the lives of those truly pious 
women, Madame Guion, Chantel, Bourignon, and others 
of the same class, which so abundantly prove, that even 
the cloud of Romish superstition does not preclude the 
rays of the Sun of righteousness, and that involuntary 
ignorance God still winketh at ; will be glad to see a life 
in the Protestant Church superior to any of them. 
Especially, they will see, that all in her may be safely 



PREFACE. XV 

imitated, being all according to the faith once delivered 
to the saints. They will see also, not the fair picture 
only, but how it came to bear the stamp divine. They 
mav trace its progress, and be encouraged to believe, 
that the Lord, who is ever the same, will thus work in 
them to will and to do, notwithstanding opposing corrup- 
tions : and they will thus be encouraged to give them- 
selves up to that grace of God, which teaches us to deny 
ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, right- 
eously, and godly, in this present world. Looking for that 
blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

H. .WORK. 

Birmingham, April 14, 1817. 



THE 



,i.<! 



PART THE FIRST. 

— ssS5#Cs*~ 

Her early Life, and Christian Experience. 

L WAS born September the first, O. S. 1739, at Layton- 
stone, in Essex. From my earliest years, I can remem- 
ber the Spirit of God striving with me, and offering me 
salvation ; but I slighted these most gracious calls, and 
many times resisted the most tender invitations. One 
day, from a little circumstance which occurred when J 
was about four years old, I received such a conviction 
that God heareth prayer, that it often administered 
much comfort to me in seasons of trial and danger, Of 
this I had the greater need, being by nature fearful even 
to a degree of folly. How much this effeminacy of 
disposition has cost me, in my Christian warfare, and 
what sufferings, as well as spiritual loss, I have sustained 
from it, is known only to my Heavenly Father. 

When I was five years old, I began to have much 
concern about my eternal welfare, and frequently inqui- 
red of those about me, whether such and such things 
were sins. On Sabbath evenings, my dear father used 
to instruct us in the church catechism. At those seasons 
I can remember asking many questions. I wished to 
know whether any ever did love God with all their 
heart, and their neighbour as themselves; and whether it 
was really the command of God that we should d© so : 



18 



THE LIFE OP [PART I. 



also if the Bible really meant all it said ? It seemed to 
me that if it did, I was wrong, and all about me in danger ; 
for there appeared to be a great difference between the 
description of a Christian, given in the word of God, and 
those who walk under that name. 

As I was a backward child, and of weaker understand- 
ing than the others, I was not well read in the Scriptures 
at that very early age ; but sentences out of the word of 
God frequently occurred to my mind, and made a deep 
impression, such as, Thou shalt love the Lord. thy God with 
all thy heart. I would answer, but I do not love God at 
all ; I do not know how to love him ; and with respect 
to loving my neighbour thus, I am sure I do not ; for 
though my sister is dearer to me than any body else, I 
do not love her as well as myself. Again, that word 
struck me much, St. Paul says, / have fought the good 
fight ; and when I was baptized, the minister said, I was 
to be " Christ's faithful soldier and servant, and fight man- 
fully under his banner." This amazed me greatly. 1 
thought, I am sure I do not fight, neither do I know 
what to fight against. But above all, that sentence would 
follow me, Narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and 
few there be that find it; and, If ye are not of the world, the 
world will hate you. I did not feel it a narrow way, 
aeither did the world hate me ; therefore I questioned 
•ften whether I was not quite out of the way, yet it wa* 
not with any terror. I believed if the Lord saw that 1 
was wrong, he would make me right, and sometimes I 
prayed for it. At other times I was very careless ; yet 
these reflections still dwelt on my mind, and often per- 
plexed me. I frequently asked questions about these 
subjects, but they were often very lightly treated. Those 
parts of Scripture were represented as very liable to be 
mistaken, and that they did not require obedience in all 
the strictness which I seemed to suppose. This well 
agreed with my carnal mind, and I thus soon quenched 



PART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 19 

those tender convictions ; so easy is it to drown the soft 
voice of the Spirit by carnal reasonings. 

I now drew the following reflections ; If the Bible 
does not mean all it seems to speak, with regard to the 
commands of God, certainly the same allowance may be 
made for its threatenings ; so that I began to believe 
there was no hell at all, or at least not half so terrible as 
1 had been taught to think. This thought raised in me 
a dislike to the word of God, and great coldness and 
carelessness throughout all my conduct. But my ador- 
able Lord did not give me up to the hardness of my heart, 
but still followed me with his drawings. Often I thought, 
perhaps the Bible does mean what it says, and then, I am 
not a Christian ; and greatly did I wish to know what 
was the truth. My sister, who was nearly five years 
older than me, was also under a concern for her soul ; 
she wished to know and do the w r ill of God. 

About this time, there came a servant maid to live 
with my father, who had heard of, and felt some little of 
the power of inward religion. It was among the people 
called Methodists she had received her instructions. 
Seeing the uneasiness my sister was under, she took 
some opportunities of conversing with her. I was at this 
season with my grandmother. On my return home, my 
rister repeated the substance of these conversations to 
me. I well remember the very spot we stood on, and 
the words she spake, which, though we were but a few 
minutes together, sunk so deeply into my heart, that they 
were never afterward erased. My reflections were 
suited to a child not seven years old. I thought if I 
became a Methodist, I should be sure of salvation ; and 
determined, if ever I could get to that people, whatever 
it cost I would be one of them. But after a few conver- 
sations, and hearing my sister read some little books 
which this servant had given to her, I found out, it was 
not the being joined to any people that w r ould save me, 
but I must be converted, and have faith in Christ j that 



20 THE LIFE OP [PART I. 

I was to be saved by believing ; and that believing would 
make me holy, and give me a power to love and serve 
God. 

The servant had now left our family, and we con- 
tinued like,blind persons, groping our way in the dark ; 
yet, though we had so far discerned the truth as to 
express it in the above manner, I could not compre- 
hend it. My heart rose against the idea of being saved 
by a faith which I could not understand. One day 
looking over the pictures in the Book of Martyrs, I 
thought it would be easier to burn than believe, and 
heartily did I wish that the Papists would come and 
burn me, and then I thought I should be quite safe. Yet 
these troubled thoughts, were mixed with a degree of 
hope. I thought, God does love me, I believe, after all ; 
and, perhaps, He will show me what it is to believe, and 
be converted. 

When I was between seven and eight years old, 
musing one day on that thought, What can it be to know 
my sins forgiven, and to have faith in Jesus ? I felt my 
heart rise against God, for having appointed a way of 
salvation so hard to be understood ; and with anguish of 
soul I said, if it were to die a martyr, I could do it ; - or 
to give away all I have ; or when grown up to become 
a servant, that would be easy ; but I shall never know 
how to believe. In that moment these words were 
applied with mighty power to my soul, 

" Who on Jesus relies, without money or price, 
The pearl of forgiTeness and holiness buys." 

They were accompanied with a light and power I had 
never known before ; and with joy I cried out, I do, I do 
rely on Jesus ; yes, I do rely on Jesus, and God counts 
me righteous for what he hath done and suffered, and 
hath forgiven all my sins ! I was surprised that I could 
not find out this before. I had thought every thing easier 
than to believe j but now I thought the way of believing 



PART I.j MRS. FLETCHER. 21 

m ore easy than any other. A ray of light into the Gos- 
pel plan shone upon my soul, and I began to adore the 
wonders of redeeming love. But alas ! it was but as 
the drops before a shower; in a few days I lost the 
power in a great measure,* though not the light of this 
blessing. I can remember many promises after this, 
being at times brought to my mind. Something also of 
a confidence in the Lord Jesus I ever retained, and when 
fears would spring up concerning the day of judgment, 
I used to comfort myself with this thought, Jesus is to 
be the judge, and I cannot be afraid of Jesus. But I 
had not yet learned that lesson, 

" Man for the simple life divine 
What will it cost to break ? 
Ere pleasure soft, and wily pride, 
No more within him speak ?" 

Home time after I had thus by faith " tasted of the 
powers of the world to come," I fell into an uncommon 
lowness and weakness of nerves, which was accompanied 
nith grievous temptations. I was oppressed beyond 
measure with the fear of sin, and accused in almost every 
thing I said or did, so that I was altogether a heap of 
inconsistency. This was followed by temptations unspeak- 
ably afflicting : It was continually suggested to my mind, 
I had blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. The conse- 
quent effect of these temptations on my temper, drew 
on me many grievous burdens, and exposed me to so 
much anger and reproach from my parents, as made 
me weary of life. It appeared to them that I was 
obstinate and disobedient ; and my flesh has seemed 
ready to move on my bones, when I have heard my dear 
mother say, " That girl is the most perverse creature 
that ever lived : I cannot think what is come to her ;" 
and my heart used to sink like a stone, for I knew not 

* She was not favoured at this time with Christian fellowship. She ha«? 
none to help her in the way of faith. Ed. 



"-^ THE LIFE OF [PAET I. 

what to do, and the grief of my mind quite destroyed 
my health. My grandfather and grandmother, who were 
to me the tenderest of parents, seeing me in such a poor 
way, as to my body, (though they knew not the cause,) 
desired to have me with them. I grew something better 
while I was there ; but on my return home, I became 
as bad as ever. 

This heavy season lasted, I think, nine weeks ; when 
one day opening my mind to my sister, (as indeed I had 
often before attempted to do, but could not explain 
myself,) she providentially used these words in her 
answer, " Why, you do not mean to blaspheme, do you ?" 
A light immediately struck into my mind ; I weighed 
the thought over and over, and could truly say, Lord, 
thou knowest I do not mean to blaspheme. I then 
recollected that I had heard something about temptation, 
and often wondered what it was. I thought, it may be 
Satan whispers this into my mind, like what we read 
about Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress, going through 
the valley of the shadow of death. I then determined 
never to regard it more, but always answer with these 
words, I do not mean to blaspheme, I will acknowledge 
Christ for ever ; and in a few days I was perfectly deli- 
vered. I am the mere full on this head, because it has 
been a warning to me ever since, not to be too severe 
in passing a judgment on the actions of children, whose 
reflections are far deeper, and their feelings much keener, 
than we are apt to imagine. 

I was now, I believe, about ten years old, and can 
recollect many comfortable moments, in reading the 
word of God. The promises in Isaiah, were in a parti- 
cular manner applied to my soul, and I hardly ever 
opened the Bible, but there was something for me ; till 
one day I heard a person make this remark, that many 
people took promises to themselves which did not belong 
to them. Of some, she observed, they belonged to the 
church : others, to the Jews ; such and such, to the 



FART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 23 

Gentiles, &c. and then began to blame the presump- 
tion of those who applied them to their own souls ! Such 
a thought had never entered my heart before. I knew 
the words were primarily spoken on particular occasions : 
put the Lord had led me to believe that his word was 
written to every soul, so far as they were willing to 
receive it by faith. But, from the above conversation, 
1 was unhinged,* I knew not what to choose, or what to 
refuse, so that being cast into reasonings, I lost my love 
for reading the Scriptures, and sunk into a very cold and 
lifeless state. When I was twelve years old, we went to 
Bath for three months. Here I met with many dissipa- 
tions, and had, I may truly say. no enjoyment of reli- 
gion ; only when in the midst of the ball-room I used to 
think, if I knew where to find the Methodists, or any 
who would show me how to please God, I would tear off 
all my fine things, and run through the fire to them : 
and sometimes I thought, if ever I am my own mistress, 
I will spend half the day in working for the poor, and 
the other half in prayer. 

When I was about thirteen, the things of God be- 
gan to return with more power on my mind. One day 
my sister visiting Mrs. Lefevre,t found her truly awak- 
ened, and in earnest to save her soul. She told me this 
news with great delight ; for as our parents had no sus- 
picion of her being a Methodist, we saw the Lord had 
opened us a door into that Christian liberty we so much 
longed after. At her house we got opportunities of 
conversation with religious person^, which a good deal 
strengthened our hands, though we often said to each 
other, these Methodists do not quite answer our expec- 
tations, though our time is short with them, they lose 
much of it before they begin to converse with us about 
our souls ; the Apostles would not have done so. But we 

* Here again she felt the want of Christain fellowship. Ed. 
+ Well know a in the Methodist Connexion by her admirable letter?, 
published ma 17 years ago. 



^4 MRS. FLETCHER. [PART I. 

must not form our judgment by the rich, let us wait till 
we get acquainted with some of the poor among them ; 
perhaps they will be right Methodists, and more like the 
first Christians. 

Sometimes that promise was brought powerfully to 
my mind, " Whatsoever ye shall ask believing, ye shall re- 
ceive :" then, thought 1, I may ask all the grace I will ; 
may ask power never to offend my God again. Faith 
sprung up in my soul, and I was much drawn out in 
prayer for holiness ; till one day speaking of it to a par- 
ticular person, she raised many objections to the thought 
of all sin being removed from the heart. I felt it as if 
cold water were thrown on a newly kindled fire, and the 
wings of my faith seemed dipt. Fearing lest I was wrong, 
I prayed the Lord to answer for himself by his word, So 
taking up the Bible, with much prayer I opened it, 
and immediately cast my eyes on these words, " Behold, 
I am the Lord, the God of all flesh : is any thing too 
hard for me ?" It came with power ; my heart, as it were, 
leaped for joy ; and I cried out. Now I will wrestle, and 
I shall prevail. 

Towards the end of the following winter, there was 
a confirmation at St. Paul's ; and my father desired I 
should be confirmed. This was a very rousing ordi- 
nance to me ; for some time before, I had felt how un- 
worthy I was of it : how unfit thus solemnly to devote 
myself to God, by renewing that covenant I had so 
often broken. I read the order of confirmation, with 
the ministration of baptism, over and over, and besought 
my God to give me power to keep the charge of the 
Lord faithfully. For some months after, every time I 
approached the Lord's table, I had a very peculiar sense 
of his presence, and sometimes I felt as if the Lord Jesus 
did from his own hand give me the sacred emblems of 
his body and blood. 

But the next year my mind again wandered after 
many things, and though I tasted now and then, a little 



MRS. FLETCHER. 20 

q{ the loving-kindness of the Lord, yet in the general I 
was greatly under the power of my own will. Pride and 
perverseness got many times the upper hand, and there 
was nothing in my life or conversation w T hich could 
adorn the Gospel ; but I did not then see my conduct 
in that light. While our love is small, our perceptions 
in spiritual things are very dark. Alas ! I thought 
I walked as a Christian ; bv:t now that I see so much 
more of the holiness of God, I also discern more fully 
the depth of my full, and am astonished that either God 
or man bore with me. While the carnal mind retained 
this power, I do not wonder my dear mother should 
not love me as the rest of her children ; for I was not 
only more dull and indolent in every thing 1 had to 
learn, but I gave way to an insolent and disobedient 
spirit in such a degree towards the whole family, that 
the recollection has often seemed to draw blood from 
my heart. How perfectly do I feel these words my own, 

" Sink down, my soul, sink lower still, 
Lie level with the dust." 

But the Lord did not forsake me. One night, after 
spending some time in prayer, I cast my eyes on a book 
Mrs. Lefevre had given me, and read these words, 

" I'll look into my Saviour's breast ; 
Away, sad doubt and anxious care, 
Mercy is all that's written there. 

Jesu's blood, through earth and skies, 
Mercy, free boundless mercy, cries." 

I saw as it were the Father of mercy opening his arms 
to receive me, and on that boundless love I had liberty 
to cast my whole soul. I was more and more thankful 
for my union with Mrs. Lefevre, and experienced in her 
the greatest comfort of my life. 

3 



2b THE LIFE OF [PART I, 

About this season my ever-honoured grandfather and 
grandmother were taken from us. He was one of the 
excellent of the earth : , his life, in many respects, 
was remarkable and singular. In his last illness he de- 
lighted much in these words, "My sheep hear my voice ; 
I know them, and they follow me, &c." He was aged 
seventy-nine, and had lived with my grandmother forty- 
five years in a union not usually to be met with. He was 
a pattern in many respects ; plain in his dress, mor- 
tified in hi* food, and strictly conscientious in all hie 
expenses. When manj r dishes were on his table, he 
scarcely ate of any thing but mutton, and that for 
many years, because he believed it most conducive to 
his health. His love and charity to the poor was uncom- 
mon. He esteemed it a reproach to any man to say he 
died very rich ; adding, it is too plain a mark he has not 
made a good use of his income. 

One day upon the exchange, a gentleman who was 
by him said to another, "Sir John, I give you joy; 
they tell me you have completed your hundred thousand 
pounds." The other replied, " I hope to double it 
before I die." My grandfather, turning short, said, 
" Then, Sir John, you are not worthy of it." Once being 
at the table of a nobleman, he observed the guests 
drinking to excess, and conversing in a very unchristian 
manner. At first he tried to turn the conversation, but 
the torrent being too strong, he rose up, and leaning 
over the back of his chair, he gave them a solemn re- 
proof, joined to an affectionate warning, and then left 
the company. I have been with him in his chariot when 
he has suddenly stopped it to reprove profane swearing 
on the road. 

My grandmother was a woman of an uncommonly 
sweet temper; and having acquired a good deal of 
skill in physic, she so helped the poor, that they looked 
on her as a mother, a nurse, and a counsellor. When 
my grandfather had been dead three months, she dream- 



PART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 27 

ed, one night, he came to her, and standing by the 
bedside, said, she " should come to him shortly, till 
then his happiness was not so complete as it would be ;'- 
and added, study the Scriptures, study the Scriptures, in, 
them ye think ye have eternal life. From this time 
she applied to them daily, in a manner superior to what 
she had done before ; though she had always an high 
veneration for the word of God. About three weeks 
after, she said to us one day, " Air that room ; I will 
go into it, that I may die in the bed Mr. Dunster died 
in. From the night she went into it, she came out no 
more ; for she died within the week. As she did not 
appear any worse than usual, she was at first thought to 
be in no danger. She said to herself two or three times. 
" What a blessing I am dying without pain ! I have no 
more than I can very well bear!" 

From this time we began to get rather more liberty, 
and one day as my sister was on a visit at Mrs. Lefevre's, 
Mr. Romaine came in, and began to speak of the sinful- 
ness of attending the playhouse. She listened with great 
earnestness to all he said ; which repeating to me on her 
return, it was as a nail in a sure place, and I began to 
cry for power to stand to the light which I had then 
received. 

A few months after this my sister married, by which 
I was left alone. I must observe, to this time, my pa- 
rents had very little suspicion of our having any inter- 
course with the Methodists, but thought, (when the 
before-mentioned servant was put away, and our books 
taken from us,) that our religious impressions had worn 
off. I now saw the time was come, when I must confess 
Christ before men, if I would wish him to confess me be- 
fore his Father, and the holy angels. I consulted some 
of my serious friends about the playhouse, but they said. 
" Were j^ou older, we should know what to advise, but 
a? you are but sixteen, if your parents insist on your go- 
ing, we do not see how vou can avoid it." This answei 



'28 THE LIFE OF [PART I. 

did not fully satisfy me ; and I was much distressed both 
ways. I saw the duty I owed to an absolute command 
from my parents in a very strong light ; and, on the other 
hand, I remembered that my obedience to them was to be 
— in the Lord. I sought direction in prayer, and endea- 
voured to examine the question on both sides ; but the 
more I searched, the clearer it appeared to me, I must 
not comply. I considered the playhouse had a tendency 
to weaken every Christian temper, and to strengthen all 
that was contrary ; to represent vice under the false 
colour of virtue, and to lead in every respect into the 
spirit of the world, of which the apostle declares, The 
friendship of this world is enmity with God. When the 
time came, and my obedient compliance was required, I 
begged to be left at home. On a refusal, I laid open my 
whole heart to my father ; apprising him, 1 would not 
willingly be disobedient in any thing, unless where con- 
science made it appear to be my duty. We conversed 
on the subject with great freedom ; for my dear father 
was a man of deep reason, calmness, and condescension. 
He replied, " Child, your arguments prove too much ; 
and therefore are not conclusive. If what you say be 
true, then all places of diversion, all dress and company, 
nay, all agreeable liveliness, and the whole spirit of the 
world, is sinful. I embraced the opportunity and said, 
" Sir, /see it as such, and therefore am determined no 
more to be conformed to its customs, fashions, or max- 
ims." This was a season of great trial, but the Lord 
stood by me : glory be to his holy name ! 

I daily discerned a great difference between my man- 
ner of life, and that which the Bible described as the 
life of a Christian. I had often strong desires to be 
wholly given to the Lord. Much opposition I met with 
lor having declared my sentiments, and what was very 
cutting to me, I was often debarred from the pleasure of 
seeing my friend Mrs. Lefevre. This was the conse- 
quence I much feared, if I should openly declare my 



FART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 29 

mind ; but I was thoroughly convinced, if I loved my 
friend more than God's law, I should never know the 
power of true religion. It is my natural temper, to be 
very anxious about any one I love, and to fix too much 
of my confidence in them. This was the case with 
respect to Mrs. Lefevre. I saw and lamented it, beseech- 
ing the Lord to take away all idolatry out of my affections, 
and give me to love her as I ought. 

I dreamed one night I was in a church, and saw writ- 
ten on the wall, in letters of gold, these words : Thou 
shalt have no other gods but me. While I was looking on 
it, I saw the name of Mrs. Lefevre wrote under it. I was 
surprised, and presently beheld the following line, If this 
is your God, then what am I ? I awakened with a deep 
conviction that I had placed too much confidence on an 
arm of flesh. I knew it was the voice of God by this 
mark, a great sweetness accompanied the reproof. This 
u as the method the Lord has always used towards me ; 
he held me up with one hand, while he smote me with 
the other. 

In the month of June, 1756, I spent a day with Mrs. 
Lefevre. It was a profitable time ; I found my heart 
very open, and told her, I believed 1 could give up even 
her to the will of God. She replied, " Nothing you 
could have said would have given me more satisfaction. 
For a long time, 1 have thought the thread of my life 
was nearly spun out. I have no clog upon my chariot- 
wheel* ; but my greatest pain was for you, who have 
already so many trials surrounding you." This was her 
last address ; for three days after I received a message, 
that she was seized with a sudden illness, and in great 
danger. My mother kindly permitted me to visit her ; 
but I found her on the bordei'S of eternity, into which, 
after expressing with great difficulty, " I have comforts 
indeed !" her happy spirit took its flight. As my time 
was limited, I had returned home when I received the 
news of he"r death, I went into a grove, that was in our 



30 THE LIFE OF [PART I. 

garden to pour out my soul before the Lord. But what 
may seem strange, I was not permitted to feel at that 
time much pain, for the Lord met me with these words, 
which sprang up as living water in my soul, 

" My star by night, my sun by day, 

My spring oflife, when parch'd with drought : 
My wine to cheer, my bread to stay, 

My strength, my shield, my safe abode, 

My robe before the throne of God." 

I felt the Lord Jesus did answer all these characters to 
my soul, and by faith I beheld him as my robe before the 
throne of God. 

When I was about seventeen years of age, my father 
and two brothers, (younger than me,) were going with 
some other company to see the Royal George, which was 
sixteen miles from the shore from whence we set out ; my 
father desired me to accompany them. I knew not what 
to do, but at length believed I ought to obey. Indeed I 
thought I should have no further cross than the going to 
the ship, and returning in the afternoon. But we had 
not been long in the vessel, before some of the company 
began to ridicule my overmuch religion. When we drew 
near the Royal George, the men said, we must not attempt 
to go round her, for she was deep, and very dangerous ; 
but the gentlemen insisted they should row round the 
ship. While this was doing, we were in great danger, 
and the ladies, exceedingly alarmed, began to cry out. 
Some of them said, " Miss Bosanquet, why are you so 
calm ?" I told them I saw the danger, but our business 
was to trust in God ; I was quite ready either to sink or 
to be saved. My confidence in the Lord kept me secure 
in his providence. I had now an opportunity to speak, 
and they were ready to hear. When we got into the 
ship, it seemed like a town ; such a vast variety of places 
like shops, were all around. We were met by Captain 
Burnet, who led us into a grand room : the place designed 



PART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 31 

for us was pointed out by a lady that attended us. Cap- 
tain Burnet proposed a dance, and after that a cold colla- 
tion. Now I felt indeed. Several of the company fell 
upon me, with " Now, Miss Bosanquet, what will you do 
now ! You must dance ; you cannot run away." Know- 
ing my help must come from above, 1 lifted up my heart 
to the Lord, and cried to him for help. Presently a mes- 
senger in haste called for Captain Burnet. He ran down, 
but soon returned with great disappointment in his coun- 
tenance, saying, "O what shall we do ? The Prince of 
Wales and Admiral Anson are coming on hoard." Never 
was any thing more welcome to me than this hurry of 
preparing for the Prince — our present King, one year 
older than me. My heart praised the Lord for this 
timely interposition. The cannon put aside the dance, 
and we at length talked of returning. We were let down 
into our little vessel, and I was truly thankful to be on 
the way home. But another trial soon occurred. Some 
of the company proposed going to Vauxhall ; this I refu- 
sed. Then, said they, " You must stay in the vessel with 
the men." I knew not what to do. As we drew near 
the part where our coaches were waiting for us, a strange 
disagreement took place between two of the gentlemen ; 
one of them, my brother, rose up and bid the man draw 
near to the steps ; he got out, and I followed him. The 
rest went on to Vauxhall. I was truly thankful when 
we got into the coach. This was the last attempt of 
this kind. 

But this peaceful frame did not last long. Some snares 
were presented before me, which dissipated my mind, 
and cooled the fervour of my affections. In this spirit 
I went to London in the winter. I was now about 
eighteen. As I had not yet had a clear conviction to 
throw aside dress, while in my father's house, I con- 
tinued in my appearance like the company 1 conversed 
with, only 1 did not go with them to public diversions ; 
and this winter I began to gain favour in their eyes, and 



32 THE LIFE OF [PART I. 

felt myself in great danger of being carried down the 
stream. But the thought alarmed my soul, and caused 
me to look about for help. I cried to the Lord to bring 
me acquainted with some of the excellent of the earth, 
that I might learn to walk in the narrow way which leads 
to life and glory, and into which I saw I was scarcely 
entered. One day I heard a conversation concerning an 
extraordinary work among the Methodists — That some of 
them spoke of such a change being wrought on their 
will and affections, that they found that word to be 
accomplished, " Old things are passed away, and all 
things are become new." The remembrance of that 
text, " Is any thing too hard for me ?" came with fresh 
power to my soul ; and some encouraging promises 
sprang up in my mind, and made me persevere in prayer. 
I told my serious friends, (who were not joined to 
the Methodists,) if they could procure me an hour's 
conversation with one of those pious women, I should 
esteem it a great favour ; for I longed to see any one who 
would tell me of a deeper religion than I had known. 
I saw myself surrounded with snares, and often thought 
with tears on those words, 
< 

" See tvhere o'er the desert wastes I err, 
And neither food nor feeder haTe ; 
Nor fold, nor place of refuge near, 
While no man cares my soul to save." 

At this time I became acquainted with a gentleman in 
some sense religious, though I fear not deeply so. He 
professed much affection for me, and xtiy religious friends 
advised me to think of him, as it was likely to be very 
acceptable to my parents, and would open a door to more 
religious liberty. But I cannot say he was agreeable 
to me. Neither my understanding nor affection could 
approve the proposal ; yet I was hurt by unprofitable 
reasonings. Sometimes I thought it might be of the 
Lord ; at others, I could not see into it at all. While 



PART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 33 

thus perplexed, I received a message from Miss. Furley, 
(now Mrs, Dowries,) that on such a day Mrs. Crosby 
would be at her house. I went to meet her in the spirit 
of prayer and expectation. She simply related what 
God had done for her soul. The words she spoke were 
clothed with power, and my convictions of the necessity 
of holiness were much increased. The affair of the 
gentleman was obliterated from my mind ; and the pros- 
pect of a life wholly devoted to God, drank up every 
other consideration. In a few hours I returned home 
to our country-house on Epping Forest ; but such a 
sweet sense of God, the greatness of his love, and 
willingness to save to the uttermost, remained on my 
mind, that if I but thought on the word holiness, or of 
the adorable name of Jesus, my heart seemed to take tire 
in an instant ; and my desires were more intensely fixed 
on God than ever I had found them before. 

A few days after I wrote to Mrs. Crosby. The fol- 
lowing is an extract. 

" Forest house, May the nth, 1757. 

" The Lord hath indeed been merciful above all 
1 can ask or think. I am more drawn to prayer. I find 
a more earnest pursuit of holiness than ever ; but what 
most stirs me up is, I seem to hear the Lord calling to 
me, in these words, " Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out 
hence, touch not the unclean thing ; be clean, ye that bear 
the vessels of the Lord." 

I now saw the path in which I ought to walk. I 
determined not to think about a married life, for my 
present light was to abide single. But the Lord seemed 
to call me to more activity, insomuch that I cried out, 
u Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" I would be 
given up, both soul and body, to serve the members 
of Christ. My firm resolution was to be wholly given 
up to the church, in any way that He pleased. I desired 



34 THE LIFE OF [PART I. 

not to be idle, but employed as those described by St. 
Paul to Timothy, " If she have brought up children, if 
she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' 
feet, and diligently followed after every good work." I 
can hardly express with what power these words would 
come to my mind. It seemed to me, the Lord had 
planned out all* my way; and I only wished so to walk. 

The end of this summer brought me a great trial. My 
parents were going to Scarborough. My mother offered 
to take me with them, if I would do as they did, and 
not bring a reproach on them in a strange place. This 
seemed a reasonable request ; but I could not comply, 
for the spirit of the world was as contrary to that of 
Christ in Scarborough as in London. I requested to be 
left with my sister ; but it was appointed for me to spend 
most of my time at an uncle's in London. They were 
exceedingly kind, and let me have much liberty. I had 
never before had the opportunity of a constant attend- 
ance on the means of grace ; and I greatly feared abus- 
ing this talent. One of my acquaintance being impru- 
dent, pressed me never to- be absent from any meeting, 
or preaching. By this means, I am sensible I went too 
far. I walked about more than my strength could bear, 
having been scarce ever permitted to go out of our own 
grounds, but in a carriage. But above all, I am pained 
when I think how little of Christian prudence appeared, 
in my conduct. The kind family in which I was received, 
could not but blame and condemn a conduct, which, 
though the motive was upright, was in itself sometimes 
wrong. 

During this season, I cultivated an acquaintance for 
which I trust I shall for ever praise the Lord. It was 
with Mrs. Sarah Ryan, who (with a pious woman named 
Mary Clark,) lived in a little house in Christopher-alley, 
Moorfields. They both possessed the spirit of the pri- 
mitive church in an eminent degree. A few of the most 
lively souls in the London society were frequently 



PART I.J MRS. FLETCHER. 35 

gathered there. The more I saw of that family, the 
more I was convinced, Christ had yet a pure church 
below ; and often while in their company, I thought 
myself with the hundred and twenty that waited to be 
baptized by the Holy Spirit. It was at Mrs. Ryan's 
house that Mrs. Crosby boarded ; and whenever I was 
from home, this was the place of my residence, and truly 
I found it to be a little Bethel. 

The more I conversed with Mrs. Ryan, the more I 
discovered of the glory of God breaking forth from 
within, and felt a strong attraction to consider her as the 
friend of my soul. I told her the past sins, follies, and 
mercies of my life, and received a similar account from 
her. 

The time now drew nigh for my parents' return, and 
I went home to receive them. While in London I had 
used more exercise than my constitution could bear. 
My mother was much surprised when she saw me appear 
so ill, and laid it all to my religion. A fever came on 
rapidly, and I was ordered to go to bed ; but I could 
scarcely keep on my feet, while I ascended the stairs. 
When I was laid in bed, how shall I describe the posture 
of my mind ? Distracted by the fever ; torn by fears and 
temptations, and deprived of those friends, who at this 
time could have understood and comforted me ! The loss 
of Mrs. Lefevre now also returned on my mind with 
great pain. My dear parents were not aware of the 
nature of my illness, which was, as the apothecary after- 
ward told them, a strong nervous fever. They thought 
it all arose from some trouble of mind I would not own, 
and told me one day, if I did not rouse myself oat of that 
low state, my head should be blistered, and 1 should be 
shut up in a dark room. My father being present, I said, 
" Vn'l you put me in a mad-house, papa ?" he said, " No, 
but you must be shut up at home, if you do not strive 
against this lowncss. The doctor says you have no pulse 
at all ; he sever saw a patient so low." My mind became 



36 THE LIFE OF [PAE r 



I. 



greatly depressed ; I could find no comfort of any kind, 
either from God or outward things. 

But the Lord graciously helped me in an extraordinary 
way. As I lay reflecting on my situation, and weeping 
before him on account of the darkness of my mind, 1 dis- 
cerned an unusual brightness, (yet not dazzling,) and a 
roice came so powerfully, that I can only say, I heard and 
felt it with every faculty of soul and body — Thou shalt 
walk with me in white ! An answer seemed to come from 
my heart, independent of myself,* " Lord, how can that 
be, seeing I am not worthy?" It was spoken to ma again, 
Thou shalt walk with me in white ; I will make thee worthy. 
This was followed by those words, I will thoroughly purge 
away thy dross, and take away all thy tin ! and 

" Glory is on earth begun, 
Everlasting life is won." 

To this day I have the most lively remembrance of 
that manifestation ; and in the darkest moments I have 
since passed through, I could never doubt its being the 
voice of the Lord. IVIy illness was long, and attended 
with many trials. Before my recovery, Mrs. Ryan was 
removed from London to Bristol, to be housekeeper at 
the room there ; and much did I pray the Lord that we 
should be brought together again. 

I was now about nineteen years of age, and soon after, 
my parents having an intention to go to Bath for a season, 
proposed that I should spend that time at Bristol, as I was 
now thought to be consumptive. I gladly embraced the 
offer, as a merciful providence. I accordingly went to 
Bristol, where I remained seven weeks. Mrs. Downea 
(late Miss Furley) showed me much kindness. Indeed 
I wns in some sense committed to her care by my parents, 
who had for 3 r ears been acquainted w r ith her family, 

* Who can account for this whole manifestation on common principles? 
Yet what pious mind will not conclude, it was help from the Lord in the 
time of need? Ed. 



pUlT ,.] MRS. FLETCHER. 37 

j spent much of my time with Mrs. Ryan, and Mrs. Clark, 
nnd 1 trust in some degree P« rtook of tneir spirit. After 
m v return home I clearly discovered that I still con- 
formed too much in my appearance to the spirit and 
fashions of the world ; hut I plainly saw a renunciation 
of that conformity would give my relations great offence. 
I ]oved my parents, and feared to disoblige them. I 
tou^ht for arguments to quench that little spark of light 
•which was kindling in my soul, conscious they could not 
cee in my light, and knowing that obedience to parents 
was one of the first duties. I did so far quench it, that 
I put on again many of the things I had thrown off. My 
acquaintance took much notice of me, and I was so afraid 
of losino - their good opinion, that I had no power to 
reprove sin, or even to refrain from joining in light or 
trifling conversation when in company. But I soon dis- 
cerned the danger consequent on their approval, and 
therefore determined to weigh well what was most likely 
to please God, and by that to abide. 

I prayed for direction, and saw clearly that plainness of 
dress and behaviour best became a Christian, and that for 
the following reasons. 

First. The apostle expressly forbids women profess- 
ing godliness, to let their adorning be in apparel ; allowing 
them no other ornament than that of a meek and quiet 

spirit. 

Secondly. I saw the reasonableness of the command, 
and proved it good for a proud heart to wear the plain 
and modest livery of God's children. 

Thirdly. It tended to open my mouth, for when I 
appeared like the world, in Babylonish garments, I had 
its esteem, and knew not how to part with it. But when 
I showed, by my appearance, that I considered myself 
as a stranger and foreigner, none can know (but bji try- 
ing) what an influence it has on our whole conduct, and 
what a fence it is, to keep us from sinking into the spirit 
of the world. For there is no medium ; they who are 

4 



38 THE LIFE OF [PART I. 

conformed to the fashions, customs, and maxims of the 
world, must embrace the spirit also, and they shall find 
the esteem they seek ; for the world will lore its own. 
But let them remember also that word, The friendship 
of this world is enmity with God. 

" Fourthly. I saw myself as a steward, who must render 
an account for every talent, and that it was my privilege 
to have the smiles of God on every moment of my time, 
or penny of money which I laid out. 

Fifthly. 1 saw clearly that the helping my fellow crea- 
tures in their need, was both more rational, and more 
pleasant, than spending my substance on superfluities ; 
and as I am commanded to love my neighbour as myself, 
and to consider all done to the household of faith as done 
to Christ, surely I ought not only to suffer my superfluity 
to give way to their necessity, but also (as occasion may 
require,) my necessities to their extremities. 

Sixthly. But it is not only the talent of money, but of 
time, which is thrown away by conformity to the world, 
entangling us in a thousand little engagements, which a 
dress entirely plain cuts through at once. 

Seventhly. The end usually proposed by young per- 
sons in their dress, is such as a devout soul would abomi- 
nate. A heathen may say, it will promote my being 
comfortably settled in life ; but I believe the Lord 
appoints the bounds of our habitation, and that no good 
thing shall he withhold from those who walk uprightly. I 
have therefore nothing to do, but. to commend myself to 
God, in holy obedience, and to leave every step of my 
life to be guided by his will. I will therefore make it 
my rule to be clean and neat, but in the plainest things, 
according to my station ; and whenever I thought on the 
subject, these words would pass through my mind with 
power, For so the holy women of old adorned themselves. 

As soon as I saw my way clearly, I ventured to open 
my mind to my father concerning dress as ? had done 
before with regard to public places j entreating him to 



I'ART I.] 3IRS. FLETCHER. 39 

bear with me, while I endeavoured to show him my rea 
30ns for refusing to be conformed to the customs, fashions, 
and maxims of the world. He heard me with great 
patience ; and a? I loved him tenderly, it came very near 
me to oppose him. My trials increased daily. I was 
perplexed to know how far to conform, and how far to 
resist. I feared on the one hand, disobedience to my 
parents, and on the other, disobedience to God. 

My dear mother had sometimes expressed a belief, that 
it would be better for the family if I were removed from 
it, lest my brothers, who were younger than me, should 
be infected by my sentiments and example. Yet she did 
not see it clear to bid me go ; but rather wished me to 
depart of my own accord. The furnace now became 
hot ; but I did not dare to come out without the Lord. 
Indeed, could there have been any amicable agreement 
between us, and that I had my parents' leave to live else- 
where, I would gladly have accepted it. I even made 
some distant proposals of this kind, but they never saw 
it good to concur. Providence thus overruled my desire 
for wise ends : and to run away from my father's house, 
I could not think of. I was twenty-one years of age, and 
had a small fortune of my own. I saw myself on the 
verge of a material change, and it was easy to discern 
that my father's house would not long be a refuge forme ; 
but in what manner I should be removed, or what trials 
I might yet have to go through, I could not tell. The 
continual language of my heart was, Iain oppressed, Lord, 
undertake thou for me. 

One day my father said to me, " There is a particular 
promise which I require of you, that is, that you will 
never, on any occasion, either now, or hereafter, attempt 
to make your brothers what you call a Christian." I 
answered, (looking to the Lord,) " I think, Sir, I dare 
not consent to that." He replied, " Then you force me 
to put you out of my house," I answered, " Yes, Sir 3 
according to your views of things, I acknowledge it : and.. 



40 TEH LIFE OF [PART I. 

if I may but hare your approval, no situation will be 
disagreeable." He replied, " There are many things in 
your present situation, which must be, I should think, 
very uncomfortable..' This I acknowledged, and added, 
that " If he would but say he approved of my removal, 
I would take a lodging which I had heard of at Mrs. 
Gold's, in Hoxton Square ; but that no suffering could 
incline me to leave him, except by his free consent." 
He replied, with some emotion, " I do not know you 
ever disobliged me wilfully in your life, but only in these 
fancies ; and my children shall always have a home in my 
house." As I could not but discern a separation would 
take place, (though I knew not how nor when,) I judged 
it most prudent to take the lodgings, that, in case I should 
be suddenly removed, I might have a home to go to ; 
which I preferred to the going into any friend's house as 
a visiter. I also hired a sober girl, to be ready when- 
ever 1 might want her. I informed my mother, a short 
time after, of the steps I had taken. She gave me two- 
beds, one for myself, and a little one for my maid ; and 
appeared to converse on it in a way of approval. Some- 
thing, however, seemed to hold us, on both sides, from 
bringing it to the point. 

For the next two months I suffered much ; my mind 
was exercised, with many tender and painful feelings. 
One day my mother sent me word, " I must go home to 
my lodgings that night." I went down to dinner, but 
they said nothing on the subject ; and I could not begin it. 
The next day, as I was sitting in my room, I received 
again the same message. During dinner, however, 
nothing was spoken on the subject. When it was over, 
I knew not what to do. I was much distressed. I thought, 
if they go without saying any thing to me, I cannot go ; 
and if they should not invite me to come and see them 
again, how shall I bear it ? My mind was pressed down 
with sorrow by this suspense. Just as they were going 
cut, my mother said, " If you will, the coach, when it 



FART I.J > IRS « FLETCHER. 41 

has set us down, may carry you home to your lodging/" 
My father added, " And we shall be glad to see you to 
dinner next Tuesday." This was some relief. I re- 
mained silent. When the coach returned, I ordered my 
trunk into it ; and struggling with myself, tDok a kind of 
leave of each of the servants, as they stood in a row in 
tears, in my way out of the house. About eight o'clock 
I reached my lodging. 

It consisted of two rooms, as yet unfurnished. I had 
neither candle, or any convenience. The people of the 
house I had never seen before, only I knew them by cha- 
racter to be sober persons. I borrowed a table and a 
candlestick, and the window seat served me as a chair. 
When bolting my door, I began to muse on my present 
situation. 

I am, said I, but young — only entered into my twenty- 
second year. I am cast out of my father's house. I know 
the heart of a stranger ; but, alas ! how much more of it 
may I yet have to prove ? I cried unto the Lord, and found 
a sweet calm overspread my spirit. I could in a measure 
act faith on these words : — "When thy father and thy 
mother forsake thee, the Lord shall take thee up." The 
following reflections also arose in my mind. I am now 
exposed to the world, and know not what snares may be 
gathering around me. I have a weak understanding, and 
but little grace. Therefore, now, before any snare has 
entangled me, I shall form a plan for my future 'conduct, 
and endeavour to walk therebj^. First, 1 will not receive 
visits from single men, and in order to evade the trial more 
easily, I will not get acquainted with any ; I will, as much 
as possible, refrain from going into any company where 
they are. Secondly, I will endeavour to lay out my time 
by rule, that I may know each hour what is to be done : 
nevertheless I will cheerfully submit to have these rules 
broken or overturned, whenever the providence of God 
thinks fit so to do. And thirdly, I will endeavour to fix 
my miad on the example of Jesus Christ, and to lead ;• 

4> 



12 THE LIFE OF [PART I. 

mortified life ; remembering, " He came not to be minis- 
tered unto, but to minister." 

The prejudices of education are strong, especially in 
those persons who have been brought up rather in high 
life. The being removed from a parent's habitation, 
seemed very awful. I looked on myself as being liable 
to a deep reproach, and trembled at the thought. But 
I remembered that word, "He that loveth father or mo- 
ther more than me, is not worthy of me." 

My maid being now come, and having lighted a fire in 
the other room, and borrowed a few things of the family, 
she begged me to come into it, as the night was very cold. 
And now my captivity seemed turning every moment. 
That thought, I am brought out from the world ; I have 
nothing to do but to be holy, both in body and spirit, filled 
me with consolation. Thankfulness overflowed my heart ; 
and such a spirit of peace and content poured into my 
Soul, that all about me seemed a little heaven. 

Some bread, with rank salt butter, and water to drink, 
made me so comfortable a meal, that I could truly say, J 
eat my meat with gladness and singleness of heart. As the 
bed was not put up, I laid that night almost on the ground, 
and the windoivs having no shutters, and it being a bright 
moonlight night, the sweet solemnity thereof well agreed 
with the tranquillity of my spirit. I had now daily more 
and more cause for praise. I was acquainted with many 
of the excellent of the earth, and my delight was in them. 
Yet was I not without my cross, for every time I went to 
see my dear parents, what I felt when, towards night, I 
rose up to go away, cannot well be imagined. Not that I 
wished to abide there ; but there was something in bid- 
ding farewell to those under whose roof I had always lived, 
as used to affect me much, though I saw the wise and gra- 
cious hand of God in all ; and that He had by this means 
set me free for his own service. From my heart I thanked 
Him as the gracious author, and them as the profitable 
instruments of doing me so great a good. My mothe? 



PART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 43 

was frequently giving me Jittle things ; and every renewed 
mark of kindness made the wound to bleed afresh. 

There was in the years sixty-one and sixty-two, a very 
great revival among the societies, both in London, and 
many other places ; and an earnest desire was stirred up 
in many hearts, after full salvation. Prayer was made 
without ceasing by the faithful, " That the glory of God 
might go forth as brightness ; and his salvation as a lamp 
that burneth." These prayers were answered in a very 
powerful manner. The spirit was poured out on some 
in such a degree as can hardly be conceived, but by those 
who felt the divine influence. Not only Mr. Wesley, 
and Mr. Maxfield, were in an uncommon manner blest in 
their preaching ; but many simple persons, both men and 
women, were lively harbingers of the approaching Pen- 
tecost, and cried aloud, The kingdom of heaven is at hand ! 
The mighty power of God was seen on every side ! Christ 
was held out as a complete Saviour ; and represented to 
the eye of faith, as crying out on this festal day, " If any 
man thirst, let him come unto me and drink ; he that be- 
lieveth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living 
water." These rivers did, indeed, flow from heart to 
heart. The gift of victorious faith was given to many, 
not only for themselves but others. A clear light shone 
on these truths, " They that are in Christ are new crea- 
tures, old things are passed away, and all things become 
new. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." 
The whole soul, with every faculty, shall be so brought 
into subjection to Christy as to feel, Hive noi^ but Christ livetft, 



in me J 



Some portion of this river seemed now to reach me 
also. The means of grace were as marrow to my soul ; 
and often these words were applied, If thou canst believe, 
all things are possible to him that believeth. But I could 
not believe so as to give up my whole heart to the Lord. 
I knew him mine, but other things had Vet life in me, 
though not dominion over me, I was now assured ths 



44 THE LIFE OF [PART I. 

blessing of sanctification, (or, in other words, an heart 
entirely renewed.) could not be received but by simple 
and naked faith :* and my soul groaned out its desire in 
^hese words, 

*' That mighty faith on me bestow, 
Which cannot ask in vain ; 
"Which holds, and will not let thee go 
Till 1 my suit obtain." 

One day as a few of ug were praying together at bro- 
ther Gilford's, we were so drawn out that we were, I 
think, four hours engaged, when I really thought we had 
not been above one ; and this was frequently the case with 
us. Another day as I was at a meeting for prayer at a 
friend's house, when we had continued some time, I 
seemed as if 1 had lost all. Deep discouragement seized 
my spirit ; but I wrestled on, and was as in an agony to 
love God with all my heart. Brother Gilford was praying 
for me, when in a moment I felt a calmness overspread 
my spirit, and by faith I laid hold on Jesus as my full Sa- 
viour. I said in my heart, Thy will be done ! Thy will be 
done ! and in that I felt my rest. In the same moment 
Brother Gilford changed prayer into praise, telling the 
Lord, He had heard and answered ; He had set me at 
Hberty, and now he would praise him. This surprised 
me, as I had not given the least sign, by either word or 
motion, of what I had felt within. He concluded bis 
prayer with that act of praise. He asked me how I felt, 
myself? I answered, I could not fully tell, but that I 
found that the love of the will of God had brought an un- 
speakable peace into my soul ; but that I did not feel joy ; 
only a rest in that thought, the Lord reigneth, and His will 
shall be done. As I was walking home, I found the pre- 



* By simple faith, I mean, taking God at his word without reasoning; and 
by naked faith, I mean, stripped of every other dependence, but ou. Christ 



PART I.] MRS. FLETCHER. 45 

sence of the Lord to be with me. He seemed to say, 
Round thee and beneath thee are spread the everlasting arms. 
I felt they were so, and my faith seemed to gather strength 
continually. 

Yet for some days I was much exercised with tempta- 
tion, and continually accused, that I had thought, said, or 
done, something amiss.* But after a little time I found a 
more solid rest ; and sensibly felt my will and affections 
were fixed on God, and most powerfully was I penetrated 
with these words : 

'* Their daily delight shall be in his name, 
They shall, as their right, His righteousness claim. 
His righteousness wearing, andcleans'd by his blood, 
Bold shall they appear in the presence of God !" 

One night I awaked with much of the presence of God. 
when those words were powerfully applied, Thou shalt 
call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise. That pro- 
mise also dwelt on my mind — In returning and rest shall 
ye be saved ; in quietness and confidence shall be thy strength* 
I believe what I felt at this season was a low degree of 
pure love ; or what we call a clean heart. But though 
it was in a small degree, yet did it evidence itself by a 
mighty change. I had many temptations, and not much 
joy. Yet did I never feel any thing contrary to love ; 
and in the temptations with which I was attacked, I felt 
a great difference. Satan never attempted to draw my 
affections, neither to move me to anger, for there I could 
have answered him, Thou hast nothing in me ;j but I was 
followed with such a sense of sorrow as I cannot express, 
The fear of living to fall from grace, and sin against God, 
tore me at intervals, for some minutes, as one on a rack. 
Then a turn of the eye by faith on Jesus, would make my 
enemies flee. Another cause of sorrow was— somethings 

* A strong mark of the reality of the work. Ed. 
His strength lay in applying the law to a conscience s® tender, J5$, 



40 THE LIFE OF PART I.j 

I am at a loss to describe, but it seemed most exquisite 
feelings were opened in my soul, such as I never knew 
before. If I saw, or heard of the consequences of sin, I 
was ready to die ! For instance — If in the street, I saw 
a child ill used, or slighted by the person who seemed to 
have the care of it, or a poor person sweating under an 
uncommonly heavy burden ; or if I saw ahorse, or a dog, 
oppressed or wounded, it was more than I could bear. I 
seemed to groan and travail in birth, as it were, for the 
whole creation. Yet notwithstanding all these painful 
feelings, I had a solid peace. I always felt I committed 
my all to Jesus, and I lived on his faithfulness. As I ob- 
served before, anger seemed in my soul to know its place 
no more. Neither did I find an attachment to any crea- 
ture, or thing, but such as reflected from the will of God. 
Such a sense of purity dwelt on my soul, as I can hardly 
describe. I often felt the power of those words, Unto the 
pure all things are pure. I sometimes thought, I should 
.iot care if my breast was as a w r indow, and if every 
thought was without a covering to man, as it was to God. 
A little degree of Heavenly wisdom, was also let down 
into my heart. Being fixed on a solid rock, I was not so 
easily shaken ; and those words were powerfully applied, 
" Thou shalt not be afraid for any evil tidings, for thy 
heart standeth fast, believing in the Lord." But above 
all, I felt such a simplicity, such a hanging on the Lord 
Jesus, that self seemed annihilated, and Jesus was myall. 
The nothing into which I felt myself sunk, and the great 
salvation I seemed to possess in Jesus, were such as I 
cannot explain. I used often to say, it appears to me 
that unbelief cannot find a place in my soul to set its foot 
upon. And indeed it could not ; for slavish fear seemed 
quite cast out. I could say, " I live not, but Christ liveth 
in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live 
by faith in the Son of God." I was truly nothing, and 
all my salvation came through faith in the So'a of God. 
Urt was my soul's delight ; and I felt if I could have 



PART I-] MRS. FLETCHER. 47 

been saved any other way, I would not have accepted it. 
how often was that word in my mouth and heart ! 

" Having done all, by faith I stand, 

And give the praise, O Lord, to thee ; 
Thy holy arm, thy own right hand 
Hath got thyself the victory."* 

All this time the Lord kept me, as to outward things, like 
an infant in its mother's arms. I put in practice my first 
resolution, and had no other thought but of devoting my- 
self to God in a single life : only I remember I sometimes 
thought, were I to be married to Mr. Fletcher, t would 
he not be rather an help, than an hinderance to my soul ? 
But it was only a thought, and had arisen from what some 
friends said to me on the subject. 

As I' desired to be the Lord's, and to spend all I had to 
his glory, I sometimes carried this desire too far, and did 
not allow myself quite what was needful. My exercises 
were greater than I had been used to, and I was seized 
with a complaint in my bowels. I thought if I had some 
spice boiled in water, and Port wine with it, it would help 
me, but I was unwilling to get it. However, my Heavenly 
Father took care for that. He knows what we have need 
of before we ask, for at that very time a relation called 
and brought me a quantity of spice as a present ; and the 
very next day my father called in his chariot, apd brought 
me a hamper of Port wine, neither of them knowing any 
thing of my wants ! I therefore received U i immedi- 
ately from the Lord. And I could give a variety of in- 
stances of the same nature. It seemed 1 could hardly 
think of a thing, but it was brought to me. O how true 
is that promise, " What is given up for God, shall be re- 
stored manifold in this present life. Before the Lord 

* Who can deny this great saltation, without denying the truth anci 
power of God? But oh ! hovr few geek it ! Ed. 

f At that time Mr. Wesley's Assistant in London. 



48 THE LIFE OP, &C. [PART I. 

made me to wander from my father's house, a particular 
person used to upbraid me with that reflection, " You 
will soon find the difference between your father's house, 
and such poking holes as you will live in. — There you 
will not have one inch but the common street ; whereas 
you have been used to large and fine gardens, in which 
you much delighted. And how tired you will be of such 
trash as you provide, instead of the plentiful provision of 
his table. Before you have lived so for six months, 1 will 
engage you will wish yourself back again, and your reli- 
gion out of the way." 

But was it so ? O Lord, thou knowest ! " Thou didst 
feed me as with the finest wheat flour, and with water 
out of the stoney rock did thou satisfy me." All I could 
want, all I could desire was bountifully supplied. When 
1 have sometimes been reflecting on my situation, inward 
and outward, I have remembered that word, The meek 
shall inherit the earth. Glory be to thee, O Lord, Thou 
hast meekened my spirit, and Thou makest me to pos- 
sess all things. Often 1 have said in amazement — What 
can I fear ? I have no desire : the will of God swallows 
up all ! My Jesus and my all ! my Jesus and my all for 



ever 



END OP THE FIRST PART 



FART THE SECOND 

Her removal to Layton-stont, 

EXPERIENCED daily more and more of the tender 
care of the Almighty ; and often felt those words with 
power, 

" No fondest parent's anxious breast, 
Yearns like thy God's to make thee blest," 

Every want was supplied before I could ask it ; nay, ma- 
ny times before I was conscious of the want. My maid 
was but dull and ignorant, though a good girl ; and I knew 
little more of the world than she did, having been used 
to so different a way of life. My health, and many con- 
cerns needed a care I did not know how to take. But if 
at any time such an idea would offer to my mind, I checked 
it in a moment with that thought — I have the Gospel. I 
have freedom to serve God ; I have spiritual blessings. 
What more can I need ? and truly, I rather saw than felt 
my wants. Nevertheless, now and then, 1 have said. 
Would not a steady faithful friend be a great advantage 
to me ? — One who could lead me into a deeper' acquaint- 
ance with God. But 1 sought it not; all my cares on 
Him were cast, and in His will I found my resting-place, 
and in quietness and confidence was my strength. 

At this j nocture, I received a letter from Mrs. Ryan, 
informing me she was coming up to London. She had 
left Bristol Room some time before, her health not per- 



50 THE LIFE OF [PART II. 

mitting her to continue in that place. She informed me 
she was settled in a lodging, but she saw it her duty to 
come up to London a few months for my sake ; -' for 1 
reap (said she) of your substance, and so do many ; but 
the Lord shows me that at present you suffer for the want 
of a friend, (referring to what I had written to her,) and 
I think he has ripened and confirmed that solid spark of 
friendship, which was so long ago kindled in our breasts 
towards each other. It seems to me as if the Lord had 
laid your burden on me, as he once committed the care 
of Mary to Joseph, and afterward to the favoured disci- 
ple." She concluded — 

" Jesus, 'to thy preserving care, 

My choicest blessing I commend ; 
Receive, and on thy bosom bear, 

The soul whom thou hast made my friend." 

I spread my friend's letter before the Lord, and praised 
him for laying my burden on the heart of one, whom I 
knew to be a favourite of Heaven. I answered, that I 
should be very glad to see her. She had not been long 
at her sister's before she was seized with a violent disor- 
der, which we thought would end in death. I visited her 
often, and with much profit. Mrs. M. being taken ill also, 
and only one servant to attend them both, I believed it 
my duty to be with her night and day : and the Lord gave 
me such strength and ability for it, as I had never found 
before. I felt his peculiar smile on my employment, and 
those words, which had formerly made such an impression 
on my mind, were now continually before me, 

■' O that my Lord would count me meet. 
To wash his dear disciples' feet : 
After my lowly Lord to go, 
And wait upon his saints below ; 

Ijijov the grace to angels given, 

And serve the roval heirs of heaven." 



PART II.] MRS. FLETCHER, ol 

As she slept little, we conversed much, and our hearts 
were united as David and Jonathan's. The spirit of 
community which reigned in the church at Jerusalem, I 
felt a taste of; and from that time to her death, the cold 
words of mine and thine, were never known between us. 
A circumstance which now occurred unexpectedly con- 
strained her to remove. I took her home with me, but 
not till I had inquired of the Lord, well knowing how 
much the progress of the divine life depends on our 
private connexions. Unless much caution is used be- 
tween persons living together, they are often a great 
hinderance to each other. 

After a time the Lord was pleased to restore her to 
health ; and having one heart, one mind, and one purse, 
we agreed that one habitation also would be most profit- 
able. The Lord had given us to feel that union which 
even death itself could not dissolve. I have often thought 
on those words of Solomon, " A faithful friend is the 
medicine of life, and he that fears the Lord shall find 
him." Some however objected — " Your income is as 
yet but small ; you wish to be useful ; why then did you 
not choose, a§ a friend, one ™ho had some fortune to. 
unite with your own, and that might have enlarged your 
sphere ?" I answered, I did not choose at all. I stood 
still, saw, and followed the order of God. And if my 
means had been enlarged in money, and lessened in 
grace, what should I have gained by that ? I acknow- 
ledge I neither ^gained honour, gold, nor indulgence to 
the flesh, by uniting myself to a sickly persecuted saint ; 
but I gained such a spiritual helper as I shall eternally 
praise God for. Many are the advocates of friendship. 
Many will, say, with Dr. Young. 

" Poor is the friendless master of a, world. 
A world in purchase for a friend is gain." 

But they refuse the sacrifice demanded by that friend- 
ship, and forget the following lines _ 



->'2 THE LIFE OF [PART II. 

" But, for whom blossoms this elysian flower ? 
Can gold gain friendship ? Impudence of hope ,' 
As well mere man an angel might beget. 
Love, and love only, is the loan for love. 
Delusive pride repress — 
Nor hope to find a friend, but who hath found 
A friend in thee." 

We continued together at Hoxton some time. When 
I was about twenty-three, the people of Layton-stone 
were much laid on my mind. I had both my birth 
and maintenance from that place, and I could not help 
thinking I owed something to their souls. Yet I saw the 
way very difficult. My parents permitted me to be of- 
ten with them, and seemed pretty well reconciled to my 
manner of life, while at a distance. But how, thought I, 
will it appear in their eyes, to bring the preachers they 
so much object to, within a mile of their house ? I 
thought I should not now be called to offend them any 
further. Cannot the Lord, if he sees good, send the 
Gospel to those people some other way ? Thus I put it 
from my mind again and again ; yet a strange love for 
ihose souls in that place would spring up in my heart \ 
and when I said, Lord, send by whom thou wilt send, but 
not by me ! Those words again presented themselves, 
*' He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not 
worthy of me." 

About this time a house of my own at Layton-stone., 
became untenanted. My friend as well as myself saw 
many reasons for our removing to that place. We 
prayed much about it, and I asked the Lord to show us 
clearly his will ; and at length felt from the Lord, First, 
A liberty to believe, that if my father did absolutely for- 
bid my coming, I was not required to do it. Secondly, I 
knew God did not require impossibilities : I had not yet 
an income sufficient for living in that place. I asked, 
therefore, as a further mark, the settling an affair, which 
kept me out of part of my fortune, occasioned by a flaw 
m the making of my grandmother's will, i had taken 



n'li 



PART II.] M RS - FLETCHER. t)3 

some pains about this affair before, but to no purpose. 
However I slightly mentioned it again, and it was settled 
directly. Then I made known to my father my thought 
about living at Layton-stone. I used no deception ; but 
told him plainly the end I proposed in so doing,- my mo- 
ther being present. He made not the least objection, 
only added with a smile, " If a mob should pull your 
house about your ears, I cannot hinder them." We 
waited before the Lord, believing it was his call, and 
held ourselves in readiness for immediate obedience. 
One night I dreamed I was in one of my houses there, 
in company with all kinds of people, rich and poor, most 
of whom appeared very ungodly. It was strongly im- 
pressed on my mind to speak to them, but I started from 
the thought, and said with emotion, Lord, what do I here 
among this people ; for they are not thy people, and 
what am I to do with them ? I then beheld the Lord 
Jesus stand as just before me. The awful majesty of his 
presence had such an effect on me as I cannot express ! 
It seemed to me I sunk down before him as if I were 
sweetly melting into nothing. I saw no shining bright- 
ness, or any thing dazzling to the eye. He appeared 
only as a man clothed in white ; yet to my mind there 
was what I cannot put into words. It was a sense of his 
purity ! It was the glory of holiness which so overcame 
me ! There seemed but about one yard distance be- 
tween my Saviour and me — when he spake with a voice 
clear and distinct these words, " I will send thee to a 
people, that are not a people, and I will go with thee. 
Bring them unto me, for I will lay my hand upon them 
and heal them. Fear not, only believe !" 

When the immediate presence of my Lord was with- 
drawn, I thought that I repeated, with tears, to the peo- 
ple what he had spoken to me. Many mocked ;;nd 
derided ; but a few expressed a desire of being separated 
from the others to hear the word. I endeavoured to find 
3t place to meet them in, and in order to do so, I was con- 

•5 



04 THE LIFE OF [PART if, 

strained to walk over a piece of building, where the floor 
did not seem thicker than a wafer. When I had passed 
it, I looked back, and said — not a splinter has given way 
under my feet. Turning my face towards the lane, I saw 
a funer ;1, and awaked with that word powerfully applied, 
Tlie mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. I found myself in 
a sweet delightful peace. Soul and body seemed all 
attracted into a divine harmony. When sufficiently come 
to myself to speak, I told sister Ryan, (who slept with 
me,) all that had passed. She replied — " This night, 
both sleeping and waking, I have been much occupied 
with these words — I will go before you, and humble the 
great ones of the earth." 

This was in the year sixty-three. On March the 24th 
the same year, we removed to La} ton-stone. From the 
iirst hour we found much of the presence of God ; and 
stood still to see his salvation. In order to supply the 
want of public means, (which we could not have but 
when we went to London,) we agreed to spend an hour 
every night together in spiritual reading and prayer. A 
poor woman with whom I had formerly talked, came to 
ask if she might come in, when we made prayer ? We 
lold her, at seven every Thursday-night she should be 
welcome. She soon brought two or three more, and 
they others, till in a short time our little company in- 
creased to twenty-five. One night, just before the time 
of meeting, a poor woman called with a basket of cakes 
to sell. On our refusing to buy any, she stood still a 
long time at the gate. We began to converse with her 
about her soul, when she expressed a great desire to stay 
the meeting, and in so doing was so greatly blest, that 
she would fain have left us part of her goods in return. 
We now thought it would be well to converse with each 
in particular, and that the time was come for it. Some 
tew were offended, and came no more ; but most appear- 
ed under conviction, and those we appointed to meet oa 
Tuesday-night, reserving the Thursday for the public 



PART II.] MRS « FLETCHER. 55 

meeting, which still kept increasing, and in which we 
read a chapter, and sometimes spoke from it. 

The first time we met on the Tuesday-night, two were 
set at liberty. We now thought it expedient to apply to 
Mr. Wesley for a preacher. He approved our plan, and 
sent Mr. Murlin the next Sunday ; and within a fortnight, 
we had twenty-five joined in society. Much opposition 
now arose from all sides, (though more from the rich 
than the poor,) and one Thursday-night, as I was speak- 
ing to a pretty large company in my own kitchen, the bell 
at the fore-gate was rung very hard. Our servant, who 
was a pious woman, went to see who was there. In the 
mean time, four shabby-looking men, with great sticks in 
their hands, came in at the back-door, and so into the 
kitchen. The servant soon returned with some emotion, 
and whispered me, " It is Mr. W who is come to inform 
you. you must, if you please, break off, for here is a 
great mob coming ; and the ringleaders are four men 
with clubs." Turning to the people I answered her 
aloud, " O, we do not mind mobs, when we are about 
our Master's business." Greater is he that is for its, than 
all that can be against us. I then went on till I had con- 
cluded my subject. Having a few of the rules of the 
society, which I intended to disperse that night, I 
addressed myself first to the four men, who stood before 
me, explaining what they were, and asked if they would 
choose to accept one ? They received them with a 
respectful bow, and went out. Who they were, and 
what was their purpose, I know not to this day. We 
heard no more of the mob. At this time the hand of the 
Lord was much with us, supporting and comforting us 
under every trial. There was only my friend Ryanj 
myself, the maid, and Sally Lawrence, a child about four 
years old, whom I had just before taken from the side of 
her mother's coffin into our house. On one side it 
whs open to the forest, and I know not that one of the 
awakened people lived within a mile of us. We were 



36 THE LIFE OF [pAR-P II. 

as on a desert alone, but the Lord was with us, and pre- 
served us beneath his love's almighty shade. The enemy 
came, however, to the length of his chain. Sometimes 
on Sundays, when the nights were dark, after the society 
meeting, a mob used to collect at the gate, and throw dirt 
at the people as they went out ; and when they were 
gone, they used to come into the yard, break some trifles 
they found there, and putting up their faces to a window 
which had no shutters, roar and howl like wild beasts. 

And now another dispensation was opening before us. 
From the time I was seventeen, some drawings towards 
the care of children had dwelt on my mind. I felt the 
?ame desire now as at that time, to become in every sense 
a servant of the church. Those words were still with 
me, " If she hath lodged strangers ; if she hath brought 
up children ; if she- have relieved the afflicted ; and 
diligently followed after every good work." Yet I was 
truly sensible no work was good but as being done in the 
will and order of God. We therefore entreated the 
Lord to discover to us all his sacred will from day to day, 
and not suffer us in any degree to err therefrom. 

Various leadings of Providence, hoth inward and out- 
ward, drew us to think of the rising generation with more 
than common tenderness. Our abilities were small ; yet 
perhaps a few children we could educate, without inter- 
rupting the order of God in our call towards the grown 
people. We determined, however, to take none but 
destitute orphans, that no one might interrupt our plan, 
of education. We were not unconscious, that to change 
the heart belongs to God, but at the same time we remem- 
bered, there was a blessing promised to " the training up 
a child in the way it should go," and that a degree of 
knowledge, with a capacity of getting their bread in an 
honest way, has under God rescued many from destruc- 
tion. Some such objects now presented themselves, and 
we received them, one after another, in the name of the 
Lord We however refused many, taking only those cor?- 



PART II.] M RS ' FLETCHER. 57 

cerning whom there appeared a particular call of Pro- 
vidence. 

For a good while our family consisted of one servant, 
six orphans, and ourselves ; hut we found it took up too 
much of our time to have the whole care of them alone ; 
especially as my friend Ryan was often confined by illness. 
We therefore took a pious young woman, named Ann 
Tripp, who desired to devote herself to God, in a closer 
walk than the generality of believers. She was placed 
a g o-overness over the children, whose number continued 
to increase. Some serious women also were added to 
our household, and each had their duties and employments 
assigned them. In the whole we received thirty-five 
children, and thirty-four ^■wnpersons, but not all at 

We now found work e^T^^onA" hands, and wished 
to free ourselves from all n£earWW^res. As well there- 
fore to answer that end, *£pto avoid conformity to the 
world, we thought it best to have but one dress. We 
fixed on a dark purple cotton, of which we had many 
pieces stamped ; and ourselves, with the whole family, 
wore nothing else. We had a large hall, and in it a table 
five yards long, at which we ate together. There also 
we assembled for morning and evening devotion, and ou 
several other occasions. But in general the children 
were in the nursery, and the other sisters in their own 
apartments. 

When my family began thus to increase, I must 
acknowledge, it was by no means proportionate to my 
income, but it appeared to me I had a peculiar call from 
the Lord to take the steps I did ; and we began with a 
degree of the same spirit which is expressed in a book, 
entitled " The Footsteps of Divine Providence ;" giving 
an account of the Orphan-house at Halle, in Germany, 
raised by Professor Francke. 

This plan I would advise no one to follow, unless they 
felt what I did, for certainly justice goes before charity ; 



58 THE LIFE OF [PART Ji. 

and there is very seldom a real call from God to give 
more than we have. But it must be observed, though 
my income was inadequate to the undertaking, I had a 
considerable capital. So that I was not at present in. 
danger of debt. The risk I ran was, of spending my 
capital, and being left without a maintenance. But the 
Lord seemed to assure me I should not thus be deserted, 
and that by many and various ways. 

We now set ourselves to inquire of the Lord, how we 
should train up these children to his glory ; and a few 
out of many reflections which occurred to my mind, I 
will endeavour to set down. But I must observe, first, 
as most of our children were naked, fall of vermin, and, 
some afflicted with distempeJkthe first thing was to clean 
and clothe them, aiy* , 'aflHKto their health ; which 
usually was followec»ith mjmiyiii r " At the same time, 
we endeavoured toTW(raenfto an outward conformity 
ot manners with the rules offt^ house, and to some cour- 
tesy of behaviour. This was not difficult, as a child natu- 
rally falls in with what it sees in others. The second at- 
tempt was to fix on their minds, that we had no motives in, 
receiving them into our house, but that of love ; love to 
their souls and bodies. We wished to save their bodies* 
from misery, and their souls from eternal destruction. 

With respect to the strangers, we endeavoured to lead 
them ta a view of the love of God, observing it was his 
love which caused ours. He put it into our heart, he 
brought them in our way, and from His hand came their 
every blessing. That the end of the Lord in bringing 
them into our house, was, to learn that great truth, that 
they should never die. Their bodies must die, and rest 
in the grave ; but they themselves would be for ever 
alive, and hear, see, think, and know ; feel pleasure, or 
pain, and that for ever. We inculcated, that the end of 
their learning this lesson, was to make them happy, and 
to prevent their being miserable, since in a very short 



*ART II.] MR3 « FLETCHER. 5$ 

space of time they must enter into the one or the other 
state, and that to all eternity. 

We continually impressed on the minds of the chil- 
dren, that the only way to be happy was to be like God ; 
to love what he loved, and to hate what he hated ; but 
that was not their present state. They were now like 
the devil, and loved what he loved. If they were injured, 
they loved to revenge, and could hardly forget the offence 
any one offered them. When angry, they would cry, and 
sob, and be almost choked ; but when did they find them- 
selves so affected, in thinking about the Lord Jesus ? Did 
His love and sufferings come again and again to their mind, 
»o that they could not forget them ? And when did they 
cry and sob, because they had sinned against so good a 
God ? It was plain, therefo^^HlUt were as yet the de- 
vil's children, and their mmafcmd Sections obeved him 
only. We therefore declarer!, *Efiat whenever we saw 
these marks of the devil's power on their hearts, we would 
tell them of it ; but if they would still obey him rather 
than God, we would then add unto our words correction ; 
making them feel pain, that the impression might be strong 
and more lasting ; and that they must never resent nor re- 
sist those corrections, for it was more painful for us to 
give, than it could be for them to receive them. But 
seeing it was for their profit, and our duty to do it, they 
must take each correction not only with patience, but 
thankfulness ; for we should make it a point of con- 
science, never to correct, or even to contradict them, but 
with consideration and prayer, having always that lesson 
before our eyes, 

" That mercy I to others show, 
That mercy show to me," 

Nor were these observations altogether without fruit ; 
for I do not remember one child I ever had, that if we 
ordered her to receive correction by the rod, (which was 
not often,) would not lie down in silence as a lamb, and 



60 THE LIFE OF [PART ij. 

afterward, yea, immediately after, come and kiss us. Wt 
observed that all our instructions would avail them nothing, 
unless their hearts were changed ; and that none but. Je- 
sus Christ could do that, but He was ready and willing, 
and assuredly would do it, if they cried to him for it. 

From the above hints, various occasions presented to 
point out the nature of salvation through Christ alone, 
and the necessity of a renewed nature, in order to be ca- 
pable of the enjoyment of Heaven. 

One day a little beggar girl, whom we had taken in 
about a week before, showed some of the vicious dispo- 
sitions which had been nursed up in her by evil company. 
On repetition, she received correction. When the chil- 
dren were alone, (as they thought,) she began to com- 
plain of her hard fate^Otying, '• If they love us, why do 
they whip us T Ajpttle dfie, about six years old, replied, 
"Why, it is because they love us, and it is to make us 
remember what a sad thing sin is ; and God would be an- 
gry with them if they did not do so. Do you not remem- 
ber the chapter my mistress read about Eli ?' ; Indeed I 
had various proofs that it is not so hard a thing to con- 
vince the judgment of children as some may think ; and a 
right judgment is a good step towards right affections. 

As we intended them to work for their bread, either as 
servants, or in little trades, we endeavoured as early as 
possible to inure them to labour, early rising, and clean- 
liness. The eldest of the children arose between four* 
and five, the younger not much later. At half an hour, 
after six, we had family prayer. At seven, we breakfasted* 
together on herb tea, or milk porridge. The small chil- 
dren then went into the garden till eight. At eight the 
bell rang for school, which continued tilltwehe. Then, 
after a few minutes spent in prayer, they came down to 
us ; at which time we either walked out with them, cr if 
the weather did not permit, we found them some employ 
ment in the house, endeavouring at the same time togiv< 
them both instruction and recreation. We invented va 



PART II.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 61 

rious employments for those hours, in order to remove 
the appearance of idleness, as from the first we endea- 
voured to impress that lesson on their minds — " An idle 
person is the devil's cushion, on which he rolls at plea- 
sure." Likewise, that in the choice of their employments, 
they should always prefer those that were most useful, 
and he always ahle to render a reason for every thing they 
did. At one we dined ; about two the bell rang again for 
school, and at five they returned to us, and were employ- 
ed as before till supper-time. Then after family prayer, 
they were washed, and put to bed by eight. Four or five 
of the bigger girls were each week kept out of the school 
by turns, and employed in house-work, cooking, &c. that 
they might be accustomed to every sort of business ; and 
there was work enough in so large a family. Several of 
the children were very young, though I do not remember 
we had any under two years, except one of about a month 
old, which was laid, very neatly dressed, one night late 
at our door; but it lived only a fortnight, being full of 
humours, too probably derived from its parents. 

We now found great need of wisdom and patience. 
\V~e had, I think, never more than ten grown persons in 
the family at one time, who were not invalids ; nor do I 
ever remember above five or six altogether in health. 
The children also for the first few 3^ears, laboured under 
various disorders ; fer we did not refuse either old or 
young on account of being sick and helpless : in the end 
all recovered who came in infirm. We sometimes had 
much to do, for the care of the sick, the management of 
eighteen or twenty children, with various meetings, and 
the needful attention to the work of God in a new raised 
society ; with the reception of the number of strangers 
who visited us on spiritual accounts, occasioned those of 
us, who had the work of God at heart, a good deal of la- 
bour and suffering. 

Various reproaches now began to roll upon us. It was 
reported that we intended to bring up these children for 

6 



132 THE LIFE OF [PART.II. 

nuns. That we were too rigid and exact to our own rules. 
•Some objected, It is all carnal wisdom ; you cannot change 
their hearts, and education will only make them more 
guilty before God. Others, that we were idle, and bu- 
ried ourselves alive, because we did not live at London. 
But the reproach that came the nearest to me was this — 
■She talks of the poverty of the holy Jesus ; (alluding to a 
little book I had printed,) let us see her work at a trade 
as he did, and that would make her fortune go further. 
Would any one with such a capital live only on the inter- 
est, when by trade they might double it every year? 
Several came and talked with me on the subject ; saying., 
if you do not go into some business, you -will be brought 
to the parish in your old age. I replied, I understand no 
business ; and I fear to lose what I have, instead of in- 
creasing it. They replied again, Then ask light of them 
who do understand it. Take some partner, let such have 
the care, and you find the money. I was wearied with 
letters and disputes on this head. However, I laid it be- 
fore the Lord ; and felt I was willing, if it would glorify 
him, to sweep the kennels. It may seem strange why 
any thus interfered in our affairs ; but our undertaking 
was new, and quite out of the common way. This drew 
all sorts of company, of various sects and denominations.) 
Some loved me, and wished to bring me over to what they! 
thought the better way. Others were moved by curi- 
osity ; some by the love of dispute, others by interest 2 
offering their assistance ; and some, perhaps, by that" 
spirit which the seed of the serpent will always manifest:; 1 
But another, and perhaps the chief reason was, I believe, 
v the order of a wise and gracious Providence. I was called 
to walk wholly by frith : indeed it appeared a strange call, 
and humanly spanking, could end no way but in a prison. 
I was therefore permitted to have everv kind of discou- 
ragement, and to be brought into many and deep perplex- 
ities, that the nithfulness of God might shine more con- 
^>:o-ious, as will be seen in the seque) 



FART II.] MRS ' FLETCHER. G3 

But to return to the children. When actual sin was 
committed at any time, (minor faults were generally 
overlooked,) it was set down on paper by sister Tripp, 
and presented in a meeting held every Friday at twelve 
o'clock. The whole family were called together at that 
time and after praying for the light and presence of the 
Lord, we entered into a consultation how to prevent a 
v elapse into the same crime; and that the displeasure of 
the Almighty might be removed, we always endeavoured 
to make our reasons appear clear before we either ac- 
quitted or condemned. Very frequently there appeared 
a spirit of repentance, so that the exhortation was follow- 
ed by forgiveness. We then spent some time together 
in a family meeting, of which I will speak more particu- 
larly in another place. 

One day a sweet little child about seven years old 
('who I hope at this time both fears and loves God,) had 
stolen something. We consulted what must be done to 
prevent a repetition of her sin. At these times we al- 
ways adapted our conversation to the capacity of the little 
criminal. One said. I have read in the Bible, that the 
offending member ought to be cut off, and cast away. This 
gave rise to several useful reflections ; after which we 
agreed there were but three ways, either to cut off the 
offender from the family, or to pray to God to bring her 
to repentance, or leave her in her sins. After some 
conversation with her, the second was agreed on : and we 
joined in prayer that the Lord would graciously interpose, 
and save her. The meeting being that daj r in the evening 
instead of the usual time, as soon as it was over, they 
were sent up to be washed, in order to go to bed. (Thi* 
was on June the seventh, 1764.) Betty Lawrence, 
about eleven years old, had been much affected while 
we were talking to H. O. the child above-mentioned. 
She had shown some concern a few days before, when I 
was speaking of the spirituality of the commandments, 
The children being alone, and not knowing they were 



( i4 THE LIFE OF [PART Ii, 

overheard, Betty said, "Let us pray for Hannah's soul" !~ 
She then prayed in a very affecting manner. Afterward 
one, about eight years old, pleaded much for the forgive- 
ness of Hannah's sin : but added, Lord, do not let us think 
so much about her sin, as to forget our own. Lord, do 
not let us laugh and trifle, and talk of foolish things as 
soon as we rise off our knees : but make us Christians. 
Another then thanked God for their good corrections and 
teachings, and said, If we are not Christians, we shall be 
snore punished than others. After some time sister Tripp 
went in to see them to bed ; but first went to prayer with 
them for a few minutes. The spirit of conviction now 
fell on Betty Lawrence in an extraordinary manner. 
We came up, and found her in a great agony ; she was, 
the very picture of terror. The veins of her neck were 
as if they would burst. She wrung her hands, and cried 
with a bitter cry, O my sins ! O my sins ! I believe more 
than an hundred times. She then broke out into such a 
confession of her original corruption and actual sins as 
quite amazed us ; adding, Oh ! I have never done any 
thing to please thee in all my lifp.. I have broken all thy 
laws ; I have not kept thy commandments ; Lord, I have 
kept the devil's commandments ! May such a wretch 
come to thee, Lord ? Wilt thou receive me, Lord ? Wilt 
thou pardon me ? Wilt thou make me a Christian ? Tell 
me, Lord, shall I go to heaven or hell ? Tell me, Lord, 
-hall I go to heaven or hell ? Wilt thou make, me a, 
Christian ? Wilt thou pardon all my sins ? She then paused 
awhile, her eyes fixed upwards, and her face as in a 
flame ; then added, but with a softer voice, Yes, he will, he 
will ! But wilt thou, Lord ? Yes, thou wilt, thou wilt ! Mr. 
Dornford being that night with us, gave out a hymn ; she 
now seemed quite calm. The horror which before ap- 
peared on her countenance was gone, and had left a sweet 
smile. After remaining some time in this posture, she 
said, Jesus is smiling upon me ! She afterward told us, she 
had a view as of Christ on the cross, smiling upon her 



fART II. j MRS * FLETCHER. 65 

and saying, "I have pardoned all your sins, and if you 
pray, I will give you abundant love." She then broke 
out, Oh ! what a sweet Saviour he is ! He hath forgiven 
me all my sins ! All, all, Lord! Thou hast, thou wilt for- 
o-ive them. But, O Lord, let them be perfectly forgiven. 
But shall I ever sin again ? Shall I ever sin again ? Oh ! 
do not let me sin again — O ! what a sweet Saviour thou 
art ! What sweet love is thine ! Oh ! more such love as 
thine ! More such love as thine ! But do not let me sin 
ao-ain ! Fill me with love, that I may not sin again! We 
were the more surprised at all this, because she was a 
child of a remarkably dull apprehension, and had no 
libertv in expressing herself on any subject. But striking 
as the scene was (far more so than I can describe,) it was 
nothing to the change that followed. She was naturally 
of a very bad temper, but now, it might indeed be said, 

" Love made her willing feet 
In svrift obedience move." 

.•So great was the change in both understanding and will. 
as plainly declared the hand that had wrought it. 

The Lord was pleased at this season to give his word 
success both among the people who attended the preach- 
ing, and in the family. But our house was too strait, and 
needed some enlargement, and a good deal of repairs. It 
therefore occurred to my mind, as we had so many visit- 
ants, to take another step, and put up a poor's box, like 
Professor Francke, in Germany. But I found some diffi- 
culty. I thought my relations will object to it ; and, in 
short, I found it more easy to give than to receive. But 
I saw the order of God in the plan, and that was enough. 
Accordingly we put it up in the hall, with this inscription, 
; ' For the maintenance of a few poor orphans, that they 
may be brought up in the fear of the Lord/" 1 Difficulties 
now began to gather as clouds about us. Workmen must 
be paid ; a family far too large for mv income, to sup- 

6* 



66 THE LIFE OF [rART H, 

port ; with a variety of expenses in carrying on the work, 
assisting their poverty, &c. One day it was suggested, 
Surely I am wrong ; God will not appear for me in this 
undertaking. I told my mind to some friends, wlm said, 
<; This is the very thing we always saw ; you will find in 
the end it is all a delusion. In two or three years, you 
will turn out all these people and children to the wide 
world ; and in your old age, you will be without the ne- 
cessaries of life," I heard them with attention, and only 
replied, " If it be a delusion, I meant well, believing it to 
be the will, of God." 

I carried it to the Lord in prayer, when the following 
thoughts were impressed on my mind. If Christ was now 
upon earth, and in want of food and raiment, should I be 
afraid to give him mine, for fear of wanting it myself? 
Should I not rather say, Let all 1 have be brought out as 
a sacrifice to my Lord ; he is well able to repay me ; and 
if he do not see it best so to do, then let us suffer together. 
I saw the case with the poor was the same, (as far as he 
had called me to help them,) and that my Lord had said, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto them, ye have done it unto 
me! Here a light broke into my mind, which quite sa- 
tisfied me, and dispelled every cloud. I cried out, 
" Lord, thy will is enough ! Thou hast bid me love my 
neighbour as myself, be it. so. Their wants be mine ; my 
substance theirs." Rising from my knees, I took up the 
Bible, when opening on Job, the xxii, v. 23, I found from 
that verse, to the end of the chapter, several parts come 
as a message from Heaven. " If thou return to the Al- 
mighty, thou shalt be built up. Thou shalt put awav, 
iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay 
up gold as the dust, and the gold of Ophir, as the stones 
?>f the brook. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, 
and thou shalt have plenty of silver. Thou shalt decree 
a thing, and it shall be established unto thee ; and the 
light shall shine on thy path." These words were wrote 



SIR*. FLETCHER. 6* 



PART II.] 

as with a diamond pen on my heart ; and in all my trials, 
I could never give up the confidence I then received, 
that I. should one day see them accomplished. 

Sister Ryan one day said to me, " We shnll have such 
a sum to pay on Saturday-night. Had we not better bor- 
row it of such a friend, till your half year comes in ?" 
We attempted so to do, but were disappointed. Being 
on my knees at prayer, I opened a book before me on 
the table, and cast my eyes on these words, " Christ 
charges himself with all your temporal affairs, while you 
charge yourself with those which relate to his glory." I 
closed my eyes, and continued praying ; when to the eye 
of my mind, it seemed as if the Lord Jesus stood just by 
me, and spoke again those words to my heart, with such 
a power as wiped away every care. Before I got off my 
knees, I was called down to speak to a man, who asked 
for me ; and who, through a providence too long to repeat, 
brought me just the sum I wanted. 

The box began now to be helpful to us ; and this year 
in the midst of our great expenses, an uncle gave me two 
hundred and fifty guineas. Once, on opening the box. 
we found a guinea wrapped up in a letter,, its contents 
were as follows : — 

" My dear child, 

" With much pleasure I have heard of your cha- 
ritable undertaking, which I pray God to bless and to 
succeed. Be never discouraged ; though divine Provi- 
dence should exercise you at times, even with many great 
and alarming difficulties ; for this is frequently the way in 
which God leads his children, in order to prove their 
faith and patience. But even supposing he should not 
succeed this affair, according to your present plan, yet he 
will never fail to bless those who sincerely endeavour to 
promote his honour, the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, and 
the good of souls. I desire you will accept the inclosed, 
?"d that you would set me down an annual contributor of 



68 THE LIFE OF [PART ii. 

the same sum. May the Lord Jesus Christ be with all 
of us ! Forget us not in your prayers. 

" I am, with respect and regard, 
" Your very affectionate friend, 

"V P," 

In another paper was a guinea inclosed, with these 
words — '• I have felt your burden, and should be thank- 
ful you had more help. But perhaps it is the will of 
God concerning you, to give you day by day your daily 
bread. I pray him to be with you." 

Indeed we daily experienced many mercies. We had 
an household as a flock of sheep. Sometimes when we 
were sitting down to table, that word would come sweetly 
to our minds — 

" Part of his family are we, 
His family of love." 

But above all other temporal goods, I saw the blessing 
of my friend Ryan. It would have been impossible for 
me to have acted this part alone ; I had neither grace 
nor ability for it : but the Lord gave her to me, as a 
mother. In all the active part of this undertaking, she 
was the main spring. It is true, the light in forming the 
plans was given to me ; but had it not been for her resolu- 
tion and diligence, they would never have been brought 
into execution. Notwithstanding her ill health, it is 
amazing what she went through, both in overlooking and 
working with her own hands. She was truly devoted to 
God ; and though I saw her at that time as a most pre- 
cious gift of heaven to me, I was not sufficiently sensible 
of her inestimable worth. 

About this time a young lady, with whom I had been 
acquainted, came to board with us. After residing about 
half a year, she had a great desire to make a new will, 
in order to leave me a large sum of money ; and asked 
me to recommend a lawyer to do it, as we then intended 



pART n ,j aiRS. FLETCHER. 6§ 

to visit Bath. I told her, 1 could not see it right that she 
should do so, as she was at a distance from her relations ; 
had not sufficiently proved us ; and might afterward 
change her mind. But my strongest objection was, she 
had told me that in her present will she had left the bulk 
of her estate, (which was large) to charitable uses ; and 
I had no desire to monopolize the riches of another, 
since my gracious Lord had given me a ready mind to 
part with all that was my own. She had two children 
under her care, whom she desired should be brought 
into our house ; we accordingly received them. Several 
other expenccs we eutered into on her account ; and she 
wrote a codicil to her will, leaving me two thousand 
pounds, adding, if she lived to return to her father the 
following spring, she should do much more. I freely 
consented to the codicil, as I then thought it but reason- 
able niV expP nsGS ou her account being considerable. 
But in October, 1766, she grew suddenly very ill, and 
her death seemed near. The codicil then lay much on 
our minds. I thought, God's cause may be reproached 
through this ; and what is two thousand pounds, or two 
hundred thousand, when compared to the honour of my 
God. Had it been done unknown to me, I should not 
have scrupled it. But as I had consented, I thought it 
would not be right to let it stand. Sister Ryan thought 
the same. We therefore prevailed on her to let us burn 
it. She was very unwilling, saying, " Had I lived to 
have made my will, I should have given you much more, 
for I k n pw God is with you."' 

She had been some years awakened, and joined to the 
Methodist society. After she had found the love of God, 
3he walked in the way of self-denial and devotedness to 
God, according to her clearest light, for some time ; and 
was in many things a striking pattern. She then sunk 
into a state of conflict, God revealing the inbred sin oi 
her heart, and her spirit being oppressed by a constant 
bodily disorder, (supposed to be a polipus in the heart 



70 THE LIFE OF [PART II. 

*he often lost her shield, and was ready to think she had 
never had any work of God on her soul. About four 
months before her death, Satan assaulted her with many 
temptations. Sister Ryan advised her to take one hour 
every day for prayer, whether she should feel power 
attend her words or not ; adding, My soul for yours, if 
you* persevere, you shall shortly see the salvation of God. 
She received the word as from the Lord, and began the 
work in good earnest, but to her own feeling she grew 
darker and darker. Nevertheless we could discern a 
change. She grew more open, and told us of some snares 
tvhich beset her, and which she had even thought of 
giving way to, adding, she saw herself worse and worse, 
till she was taken with her last illness, which continued 
but three days. Her soul seemed then very dark, and 
greatly did she lament thp ln<^ of that assurance she had 
fuiinerly enjoyed. Yet she was not without Kopp ; but 
still cried out, " O that I had but lived closer to God! 
1 see I have not used my privileges as I ought. O what 
a work have I now to do ! O it is hard work to do in 
sickness, — it is bad work to do in sickness !" Sister 
Ryan said, " My dear, I have no doubt but that God will 
finish his work." " O (replied she) but I cannot believe 
it, I do not believe it for myself. O sister Ryan, I have 
had a thought in my heart,— If I had taken a certain step r 
to have laid the blame on you ; for I thought, as you are 
so much under reproach among the half-hearted, I should 
be more readily believed, and now that stares me in the 
face." Som,e time after, she said, — " O my soul ! my 
soul ! I do not know where my soul is going!" — Sister 
Ryan said, "My dear, I believe the Lord will come to 
your help this night ; — I feel such an impression of it, I 
think I must sit up and wrestle for you all night." She 
looked at her, and was silent. A few minutes after, she 
cried out, " O what a sweet word is come to me ! I have 
not had such a word a long time. When you said you 
would stay and wrestle for me all night, I found a little 



1>\RT II.] MRS ' FLETCHER. ? i 

comfort, but now it comes, — The effectual fervent prayer 
of a righteous man availcth much. We were greatly 
affected, and sat by her in solemn silent prayer. She 
appeared to continue in a waiting posture for about half 
in hour, when she broke out in the -following manner, 
'but with such a sweet and awful reverence as I cannot 
express,) " O now 1 know I shall be with Christ for ever ! 
Y e9? I shall, I shall come to the6, Lord.— I shall be with 
thee for ever ! O for ever ! for ever ! for ever ! — Yes ! 
[ shall be with thee for ever !" After recovering her 
breath a little, she addressed herself to the young women 
who were in the room, exhorting them to know and use 
their privileges. " You are (said she) in a good situa- 
tion, you will never be in a better. O my dears, be open, 
be open ! Cover no temptation, and be all in earnest. I 
was a fool, and a double fool, that I did not live closer to 
God, and use more self-denial. I see great degrees of 
glory I have lost." After a little rest, she said — " O ! 
how good is God ! If I had strength I would write it all. 
How vile I have been, and what a salvation I now feel !" 
Then turning to me, she added — " But sister Bosanquet, 
do it ; and I charge you cover nothing ; in particular my 
unkind thoughts of sister Ryan. I charge you, I charge 
viju ! Well," she added, " I shall see you all in heaven. 
1 trust I shall see, I faiow I shall see you there. O take 
courage, my dear, take courage ; do not be cast down at 
the. difficulties of your situation. Fear nobody ; God 
will stand by you. O he will take care of this family." 
About ten o'clock at night, she said, " I shall be happv ! 
I kr.ow I shall be as happy as I am capable of being ! But 
I see great degrees of glory I have stopped short of. O 
that I had laid up more treasure in heaven!" She then 
cried out, " O my money ! my cursed money ! what an 
account shall I have to give of that \ But Jesus has 
washed away all." Thi» seemed the more strange, as 
she h\d from the tirst been a most liberal giver. But she 
explained herself to mean, with respect to the choice of 



72 THE LIFE OF [PART II, 

objects, which she had laid it out upon. She lamented 
much she had not altered her will, saying, " I wish you 
had ten or twelve thousand pounds. I know it would 
glorify God, and if I were able, I would do it now. But 
God will take care of you." We left her a few hours in 
the night, when she said to the sisters who sat up with 
her, " Give me pen and paper, I cannot die easy, unless 
I write something of my mind concerning sister Bosanque.t 
having the two thousand pounds. She did so, which was 
a striking instance of her love. This paper 1 saw it right 
not to destroy, and informed her relations of it ; but it 
was not regarded, and we were well contented. About 
twelve the next day she seemed to change for death, and 
appeared just gone. I said, " Is Jesus precious ?" She 
did not answer. One present observed, " Perhaps she 
is not sensible." After a few minutes she came to her- 
self, and smiling said, :i Yes, I was sensible ; but just as 
you spoke, I had a great struggle with Satan, — at last 
these words were spoke as if through my heart, 

" Nature's last agony is o'er. 
And cruel hin subsists no mor<\" 

But vet I do not know that the work is done. But 1 
know it will be done. I am sure God will finish his 
work. — Yes — 1 think I can believe. — Yes, I will hold 
the Lord to his promise. She continued much the same 
for six hours, now and then saying, I know he will finish 
his work. But I do not know it i-- done. Yet is there 
any sin ? I do not know there is. Sometimes I feel, 
said she, with a smile, as if I did not like to leave you 
all ; is that sin ? I do not know that it is. She added; 
when I am dying, if I cannot speak, ask me any question, 
and if I mean yes, I will hold up my hand, for I would 
wish to praise God to the last. In the evening she 
seemed just departing. One present said, " Is your soul 
in peace ? ,; She did not make the sign. I said, " Are 
you sensible, love ?" She held up her hand. Sometime 



PART II. j MRS - PLBTCHllK. V ;; 

after, we said, " Is all clear now ?" She lifted up both her 
hands above her head. Sister Crosby said, " The blood 
f Jesus hath cleansed you from all sin." She lifted them 
up again, and smiled with such an expression of joy a^ 
I cannot describe. She appeared as in a rapture, and 
strove much to speak, but we could only understand that 
word, " He i? my only portion." Then throwing herself 
back, she lifted up her eyes, and spreading her hands 
with great delight, made many signs upwards. I said. 
" Is glory open before you ?" She lifted up her hands 
pointing with one finger, and strove to speak, but we 
could only make out the word, " Glory ;" but the joy of 
her countenance was beyond all words, and in this posture 
-;he in one moment breathed her last. 

Such a sense of God and glory rested on us, as I cannot 
describe. For several days it seemed to me, as if I was 
continually sensible of the presence of the heavenly 
spirits ; and so slender did the veil appear which divides 
the church militant from that which is triumphant, that I 
saw myself as surrounded with the innumerable company, 
and as if I heard them hail the happy saint on her arrival, 
in these words, which followed me continually — 

Ah ! what were all thy sufferings here, 

Since Jesus counts thee meet 
With that enraptured hest t' appear, 

And worship at his feet.* 



* This glorious scene will be accompanied with some pain to pious read- 
ers, and in some it will excite much curiosity. It will be asked, what were 
those " snares" that induced so strong a temptation, in such a devoted 
mind, thus to deviate from truth and love, according to the above agonizing 
confession? I cannot gratify such inquirers. Mrs. Fletcher thought it her 
duty to record the fact, and I have thought it my duty to let it appear : but 
I know no more. One thing is plain ; Miss Lewen did not fall into the 
temptation ; but it is also plain, she did not resist it, steadfast in the faith. 
Hence her deep sense of her evil nature, in having listened to it for a mo- 
ment. When heavenly purity shone upon her soul, and that she found that 
purity was just about to be bestowed upon her for ever, how dreadful 
appeared the mental deviation ! If ivs may hazard a conjecture ; was it 
not seme attachment of a worldly nature, on account of which she was 



*4 THE LIFE OF [PART 1 1 

Some time after this, one of our young women had a 
desire to take a journey, which we thought would he 
dangerous to her, and warned her much to beware of the 
love of the world. Several nights she had had remark- 
able dreams, warning her to beware that no man took her 
crown. We told her all our fears ; and in particular to 
watch against the love of money. She said, " My light 
is so clear, that if I now do any thing unbecoming my pro- 
fession, I shall be guilty, and doubly guilty." Sister Ryan 
said, " I feel I cannot give you up, but I am led to entreat 
the Lord, ii you should be about to depart fromdiim, that 
he would cut short the thread of your life, and take you 
to himself, and I believe he has heard me." She had 

tempted, and felt an answerable inclination, to depart from a community so 
strictly evangelical ? That thought was, perhaps, presented to her, viz. 
That that very strictness would excuse her to " the half-hearted •" and that 
to Mrs. Ryan would be chiefly imputed the rigidity which had forced her 
from this retreat. This was probably the root of that agonizing conviction : 
especially when she saw, that the person whom she had thought of, as thus 
to have borne her sin, was ready to risk her own tender life to help her 
through her last conflict ! Miss Lewen, however, overcame at last ; and 
verified Mr. Wesley's account of her. — See his Journal, (Works, vol. iv.) 
" Friday, the 31st of October, at my return to London, I found it needful 
to hasten to Layton-stone. But I came too late. Miss Lewen died the day 
before, after an illness of five days. Some hours before, she witnessed that 
good confession — 

" Nature's last agony is o'er, 
And cruel sin subsists no more." 

So died Margaret Lewen, a pattern to all young women of fortune in 
England ; a real Bible Christian. So she rested from her labours, and 
her works do follow her." 

Mrs. Ryan was, as Mrs. Fletcher has said, " a sickly, persecuted saint" 
She was poor, (though not destitute, and hence was more liable to be the 
butt of the half-hearted. Miss Bosanquet, her twin soul, was a lady of birth 
and fortune, and on that account, rather too large for their grasp. Mrs. 
Ryan proved the whole of the eight beatitudes, as appears from Mr. Wes- 
ley's account of her, in the Arminian Magazine, and from his admirable 
Letters to her, (see his works, vol. xvi.) In one of them he says, " It 1*3 
expedient for you to go through both evil and good report. The convers- 
ing with you either by speaking or writing, is an unspeakable blessing to 
me. ] cannot think of you without thinking of God. Others often lead 
me to Him, but it is, as it wore, going r«in?l a!~?n'. Y05 birng ma 'traijht 
?nto 11:3 presence:" Ed, 



PART II.] MRS. FLETCHER. 75 

not been from us many days, before the golden baits of 
pleasure and profit began to gain lustre in her eyes, and 
the little spark of light and life to decline out of her soul. 
The Lord stept in, laid her on the bed of death, and gave 
her to acknowledge, she had left the fountain head of 
bliss, and stooped to creature happiness. She was very 
desirous to see us, if it could have been ; but a dear 
child of God attended her constantly, and wrestled much 
with God in her behalf. A little before her death she 
declared, " The Lord hath forgiven me. I shall be 
saved, but I shall suffer loss." Repeating the name of 
Jesus, her spirit returned to God, just four weeks from 
that day on which she left our house.* 

" Oh ! what is death ? 'tis life's last shore, 
Where vanities are vain no more." 

In the beginning of the year 1767, the Lord was pleased 
to exercise us with some little trials of another kind. 
Various reproaches were cast upon us. It was confi- 
dently affirmed, I had forced the before-mentioned young; 
lady (Miss Lewen) to make a will when she was dying, 
and leave me all her estate, and that I had thus wronged 
her relations. Some religious professors said that I had 
wronged the poor : and that I had killed my friend by 
rigorous mortification. — That I had driven her into 
despair, and caused her to die in darkness : — with a 
variety of stories as ridiculous as false. The truth is, I 
had not gained one penny by her, but was many pounds' 
out of pocket. However, these accounts were so indu? 
triously spread, and even to distant parts, that a gentleman 
from a place about an hundred miles otf, told me some 

* Was not this extraordinary oispensation an instance of what St. John 
rails, a sin unto death — a sin which God punishes by the death of the 
body ? It was not a little thing in His sight to leave such a house, without 
a special call of Hi* providence. Those however who form, and govern, 
such a house, should beware of any approach to the confinement of the 
Cloister. There was nothing of that kind here. Ed. 



76 THE LIFE OF (PART II- 

years after, he verily believed, had I walked through that 
town at one time, the mob would have stoned me ! But 
the Lord is a God of judgment, and by him actions are 
weighed. 

A little time before this, the Lord was pleased to 
remove my dear parents. My father had a long and 
painful illness of three years ; and my mother lived but 
nine months after. I was now permitted to be a good 
deal with them. One day my dear honoured father spoke 
to me with great tenderness concerning some of my 
former tri;>ls, aud expressed much sorrow that my fortune 
was not left as much in my power, as that of the other 
children ; — saying, " If you desire it, I will alter my 
will now. But your uncle knows my mind ; and if you 
marry a man to make you happy, it is all I wish. I do not 
care whether he has money or not. — But whether you 
marry or not, you ought to have your fortune as well as 
the rest. If you desire it, I will have it so altered :" — . 
with many more expressions of paternal affection, which, 
though I do not think it proper to insert them here, will 
ever have a place in my heart. I begged him to make 
himself quite easy, and not to attempt the alteration of 
any thing ; as I saw it must greatly disturb his peace, for 
several reasons. I assured him I saw myself safe in the 
hands of my heavenly Father, and knew I should never 
want any thing that was for my good ; and that if I was 
favoured with seeing the salvation of his soul, I had no 
more to ask : God would take care of me. I was led 
thus to speak. From what he had said to me, however, 
I expected to have found in his will far less than he had 
really given me. 

Immediately after the death of my father, my dear 
mother entered into her last illness. I found much love 
to her, and of consequence much pain. She expressed 
a tender kindness towards me during her illness, and 
showed her tender care, by augmenting the sum my 
father had left me. 



FART II.] MRS. FLETCHER. 77 

During the illness of my dear parents, I suffered much, 
not only for them, but for my weak friend at home, and 
the weight of so great a family. Her increasing illness 
was an unspeakable exercise to me. She had some time 
before been brought near to death, but many promises of 
recovery were then brought to her mind with power ; 
and after being so reduced as to be given over, she 
recovered as it were suddenly, and beyond all expectation, 
and remained in pretty good health for a year. But now 
she grew daily worse ; and for three years her sufferings 
were great and frequent. I plainly saw she decayed fast, 
and all my nature shrunk at the thought of being left 
alone at the head of such an undertaking ; and what 
added to my trial, we had increased our family, with 
some whose spirit did not suit our house, so that jars ; 
and a divided interest, sometimes arose, which till very 
lately we had not known. But the heaviest of all my 
yokes, was the galling yoke of unbelief. I remembered 
the time, when I could say, " Unbelief has not a place in 
my soul to set its foot upon." But now I had slipped 
back from that constant act of faith. I had admitted cares 
and fears,* and by insensible degrees, I was sunk again 
into my own will, and the strivings of evil tempers. 
Indeed, there was a confidence, a degree of union with 
God, which I never totally lost, neither did his fear 
depart out of my heart : yet I had inwardly departed 
from that pure love which I possessed. I had left off to 
delight myself in God, as heretofore; and accepted of 
many other things in his place, so that my trials were 
greater than I can well describe. 

One day as I was attending my sick friend, almost in- 
consolable, she said, " My dear, I hardly know how to 
rejoice in the prospect of death, because I see noway for 
you. I shall leave you in the hands of enemies, but God 

* Was this painful state heaviness through manifold temptations ; 
(1 Peter i. 6.) or a real departure from the Lord ? I believe some things that 
follow will incline the serious reader to conclude it was the former. Ed 

7 %■ 



I"" 



78 THE LIFS OF [PART {r, 

will stand by you." I said, "My dear love, can you think 
of any way for me ? It is sometimes presented to my mind, 
that I should be called to marry Mr. Fletcher."* She 
replied, " I like him the best of any man, if ever you do 
take that step. But unless he should be of a very tender 
disposition towards you, you would not be happy : but 
God will direct you." It pleased God, however, in a mea- 
sure to remove her disorder again ; so that for some 
months she was enabled to act as a leader and a helper 
among us. 

We were now pretty well settled, our meetings were 
quiet and comfortable, the number of hearers increased, 
and some of our little flock were gone triumphantly to 
glory. My income being now larger, I thought a more 
easy path lay before me ; and I found much attachment 
to the place. Yet we were sickly, and the house was too 
small for such a family as ours. We had no land to it, 
(mine being all let off before to the other house.) and 
not having cows, such a number of children occasioned 
much inconvenience. Frequently I was advised to re- 
move into some part of Yorkshire, and take a farm ; that 
otherwise, it was impossible to bring up the children to 
every branch of needful business ; and that my income 

'* The pious reader will not be displeased to see that such an impressioa 
was made on such a mind, preceding the union of that admirable couple. 
The impression vrm mutual. In a letter from Mr, Fletcher to Mr. Charles 
Wesley, (see JIv. Fletcher's works, vol. vii.) we find the following senti- 
ments. " Yoh ask me a very singular question — 1 shall answer it with a 
smile, as I suppose you asked it. You might have remarked, that for some 
days before 1 set oif for Madely, I considered matrimony with a different 
eye to what I had done : and the person who then presented herself to my 
imagination was Miss Bosanquet. Her image pursued me for some hours 
the last da}', and that so warmly, that I should, perhaps, have lost my 
peace, if a suspicion of the truth of Juvenal's proverb, — Veniunt a dote 
sagittaa, (The arrows come from the portion, rather than from the lady,) had 
not made me blush, fight, and flee to Jesus, who delivered me at the same 
moment from her image, and the idea of marriage." — There will be some 
regret, perhaps, felt, that a long and suffering time should intervene before 
that union. — But it was all ordered for the good of boih — for an eierfla! 
union— -for the marriage of the Lamb .' £d 



PART II.] MRS. FLETCHER. 79 

would go as far again in such a situation. I must here 
observe, though my income was increased, it was still not 
equal to our expenses, which were great on many ac- 
counts ; I had also undertaken, in union with the young 
lady before-mentioned, some charitable affairs, which now 
all fell on me, and many of them I could not throw off for 
some years. The box did not yield us as much by half, 
as in the first year ; for like the manna in the wilderness, 
which ceased when the Israelites got corn, so that provi- 
sion, which had been exceedingly useful to us, seemed 
n ow to be suspended. Yet I felt very averse to the 
thought of business ; I feared the armour I had not proved. 
and thought I should perhaps lose the little maintenance 
I had, rather than gain more. 

One day my friend being a little better, and all things 
at that time pretty comfortable ; my own heart being also 
drawn with an unusual sweetness towards the Lord, I was 
walking in the garden, — when looking round me, it ap- 
peared as a paradise. I thought, how sweet is my situa- 
tion ! I dwell among my own people, — a few who love 
me, and whom I love. The family is getting more and 
more as I could wish ; and as to our circumstances, 1 can 
freely trust my God further than I can see, so that all my 
care on him is cast, and here I hope to end my days. Im- 
mediately a thought presented itself,*— But suppose God 
should call you from this place ; and there should be yet 
some bitter cups for you to drink ? I started at the thought ; 
but said, Give me power to say, Thy will be done. 

About this time, Richard Taylor came from Yorkshire, 
being driven from thence by misfortunes. He left a wife 
and young family, and came to London in hopes of set- 
tling with his creditors. Sister Crosby, (who was now a 
member of my family,) had known him in Yorkshire, and 
Mr. Dornford and Mr. Murlin recommended him to me, 
and proposed his staying for a time at our house. Hr 

* It is bv n<> means clear that this was from the Lord. Ed. 



80 IRE LIFE OF [PART II. 

seemed (and I believe he then was,) a devoted man. We 
were much interested in his behalf. When we sat down 
to dinner, the thought that his wife and children were in 
trouble and distress, would often so overwhelm him he 
could not take a morsel. He appeared a man of prayer, 
and one of the excellent of the earth. 

Various circumstances occurred which seemed plainly 
to call us to seek another habitation, and Yorkshire was 
the place most likely. Yet such a call did not seem desi- 
rable to me. My reason seemed to point that way ; my 
inclination was to remain where I then was. One morn- 
ing, however, as I was reading in my turn to the family, 
I came to these words, " Come out from thy kindred and 
thy country, and come into a land which I will show thee." 
I felt myself penetrated with resignation, I felt my strong 
attachment to the place, as being the place of my birth, 
quite removed, and I seemed free to follow the leading 
of the Spirit of God, to any corner of the earth.* 

My friend and I began seriously to consider whether 
our work was not done in Layton-stone ; whether, after 
spending about five years at this place, we were not now 
called to another spot. A physician had told us, if there 
were any hopes of sister Ryan's recovery, it would be by 
a journey. She had unexpectedly recovered at Bath be- 
fore, and it might be so again. At this time she was very 
bad. I objected however to the moving her in so weak a 
condition ; — to which she answered, " If the Lord see fit 
to spare me, probably that is to be the means of raising 
me up ; and if he has otherwise determined, I should be 
glad to see you settled first ; for if you are left without 
me here, I think you will have great difficulty, from 
several circumstances ; and probably such an exchange 
of place and situation, would put it in your power to alter 
and remove those difficulties. 



* Whether this leading was really of the Spirit of God or not, her Sub- 
Ertission to Him made her more than conqueror. Ed. 



PART II.] MRS * FLETCHER, 81 

My relations and Christian friends seemed all to ap- 
prove, and we believed our way was plain for taking a 
journey to Leeds, and some adjacent places, in order to 
judge better whether they were suitable, and whether 
we^could meet with a habitation that would answer our 

great family. 

Accordingly on June the seventh, 1768, 1 set out with 
ro y friend Ryan, and sister Crosby. Brother Taylor, 
who was now to return home, accompanied us on horse- 
back.* It maybe supposed we had a troublesome journey 

* AH those who have read, with pious interest, the beginning: and pro- 
o-ress of the house of God at Lay ton-stone, must regret its dissolution. Had 
it been favoured with any successors, of the same spirit, we might rejoice 
that those who had, as the salt of the earth, been the savour of life to that 
people, were about to season other places. But that was not the case. 
There were no such successors ; and it is by no means clear, that there was 
such a call of divine Providence, as was sufficient to justify these chosen 
instruments in departing from a place so divinely visited, and in dissolving 
an establishment so owned of the Lord. Mr. Wesley's sentiments concern- 
ing that establishment, are very decisive. In his journal (see his works, 
vol. iv.) he says, " Thursday, December 12, 1765, I rode over to Laytou- 
stone, and found one truly Christian family. This is what that at Kings- 
wood should be, and would, if it had such governors." Again, " Thurs- 
day, February 12, 1767, 1 preached at Lajton-stone. O what a house of 
God is here! Not only for decency and order, but for the life and power 
of religion. I am afraid there are very few such to be found in all the king's 
dominions." — Ought not the call to be clear, and even imperative, that led 
to the dissolution of such a house ? We have indeed heard the blessed wo- 
man who was at the head of it, observing with grief, " We had increased 
our establishment with some whose spirit did not suit our house, so that jars 
and a divided interest arose." — And could she think the devil had fallen 
asleep, or that he would not take the old way, — that he would not sow tares 
among the wheat ? Such persons should have been dismissed, after all long- 
suffering had been manifested. We should add to our loving faith, courage, 
knowing for whom we are to act. As this way, it seems, was not taken, 
we cannot wonder that the leaven should win its way, and a cloud over- 
spread the once illuminated mansion. In such a dark day, it is no wonder 
that " cares and fears" should assault her devoted heart, so that she hardly 
knew her own state, and had almost given up her confidence. — A new way 
seemed to open, of which Mr. Taylor was the harbinger — A way so en- 
tangled vrith briers and thorns, that there seemed, at length, hardly any 



82 THE LIFE OP [PAFT II. 

and aching hearts, for my dear sister Ryan was so ill as 
to be carried in arms in and out of the chaise, and to be 
watched with every night ; and the bringing down so 
large a family two hundred miles, was attended with no 
little difficulty. We went first to Mr. Taylor's wife's pa- 
rents, where we found a family of serious persons. The 
old man and woman were patterns of industry and seri- 
ousness ; and the wife a person with whom I found much 
fellowship of spirit. We staid with them seven weeks 
until we could find a house, which for the present would 
suit our purpose, — which we at length did at Guildersom, 
in the West Riding of Yorkshire. 

My dear companion now began to sink daily ; but as 
the account of her last scene is included in her life, I will 
not enter into any particulars of it here, only add, that 
on the seventeenth of August, 1768, she experienced in 
reality, what she had seen in her dream, viz, that 

" He would kiss her raptured soul away." 

She departed this life in the forty-fourth year of her age. 
Thus passed the dreaded moment which I had for seven 
years so painfully apprehended. But she had often in 
her illness said to me, " My dear friend, I have obtained 
for you of the Lord that you shall not be overcome of sor- 
row, therefore fear not, for I know he heard me." Her 
prayer was, in a great degree, answered ; I was not over- 
hope of deliverance. But the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out 0/ 
temptation : and until then — 

" Darkly safe with God, thy soul 

His arm still onward bears, 
'Til! through each tempest, on the whole 

A peace divine appears !" 

This was the blessed result. The Lord turned htr captivity, and filled h.r 
mouth with laughter, and her tongut with praise. Ed. 



I'ART "•] MRS * FLETCIIER * ^3 

come of sorrow. The thought of her long suffering, and 
present happiness, much alleviated the bitter cup, which 
I had tasted of occasionally for some years. My great 
affliction did not come at once. The Lord treated me, as 
we do a child ; He put one thing into my hand to take 
away another. I thought I saw some comfortable pros- 
pects before me in life, and a veil was drawn over the 
many and great crosses which were to follow. I prayed 
I might be kept close to the will of God, and preserved 
from turning to the right-hand or to the left, now that I 
had lost my spiritual mother. But I did not wish to die ; 
neither could I get my heart into that spiritual frame I 
had enjoyed in the year 1762, and therefore being min- 
gled with earth, I felt all my ties were not cut through. 
I had sometimes conversed with her, on the subject of 
departed spirits having communion with us, and she 
used to say, — ; ' If it be the will of my heavenly Father,. 
I should rejoice to communicate some comfort to you, 
either in a dream or any other way." But I never had 
even the slightest remembrance of her in any dream for 
=ome months, though she possessed so great a share in 
my waking thoughts. I often wondered at this, till one 
night, I think six months after her death, 1 thought 
she was hovering over me, as in a cloud, and from 
thence spoke in her own voice some lines in verse ; but 
I could only retain the latter part, which were these 
words, — 

" Mingle with earth wc can no more ! 
But when you worship God alone ; 
We then shall mutually adore." 

By which I understood she meant, I was not in that purin 
which was requisite for communion with heavenly spirits ; 
but it raised in my heart an expectation that such a season 
would come, 



8'1 THE LIFE OP [PART II. 

My invaluable friend was buried in Leeds Old Church 
Yard ; where to her name and age were added only these 
words, — 

" Who lived and died a Christian." 



.Si> OP THE ISECOKfi PART, 



PART THE THIRD. 

Her settlement in Yorkshire. 

Y health began to fail. — I had for three years had 
much fatigue in nursing my dear friend ; and some crosses 
which now flowed in apace, greatly affected me. I grew 
jaro-e, and had dropsical symptoms. My soul was at this 
season in a low and cold state. My path was strewed with 
many perplexities : and I was at a loss how or where to 
settle. Trade 1 much feared ; and yet I did not see how 
I could do without it. My family consisted of thirty 
persons, of whom some were rather unruly. I saw the 
need of taking the reins into my own hands, and supply- 
jno - the place of my friend Ryan. But this determination 
was very difficult to execute ; and I daily and hourly felt 
my insufficiency. While she was alive, I considered her 
as a mother, and like the other young women desired her 
to allot me my rules and employments ; or at least to 
assist me in the choice of them. These were — First, 
An attention to the spiritual affairs of the family. Secondly, 
Taking care for their sustenance. Thirdly, Instructing 
the children. Fourthly, Meeting each member of the 
family, one by one, at fixed times. Fifthly, Superintend- 
ing by turns, the more public meetings of the society. 
Sixthly, Attending my friend iu her frequent illnesses • 
with the direction and management of the sick. — But the 
care of the kitchen, buying in ^he stores, managing the 
needle-work, with many u er articles of direct house- 



86 THE LIFE OF [PART m. 

keeping, I was quite unaccustomed to. — While I lived in 
my father's house I saw very little of domestic affairs, 
because we lived rather high ; so that I was quite a 
stranger to that kind of management needful for a great 
family, who have butlittle to live on. Besides, the manner 
of life here, was entirely different from what I had been 
used to about London. Here wheat was to be bought to 
make flour. Bread to be made, cows to be managed, 
men-servants to be directed ; with a variety of particulars 
in house-keeping quite new to me. Had my friend been 
spared, all this would have been a pleasure ; but now my 
spirits were so depressed, every thing appeared a burden : 
an d when I had provided as well as I could, some per- 
sons in my family would despisingly say, my victuals were 
not worth eating ; and that I knew not how to order any 
thing. I had frequent letters from distant parts,, some 
pitying, some upbraiding me ; and informing me a* the 
same time, " The stories which we hear carried about 
concerning you, come all from the members of your own 
family." — Oh ! said I, I have not so abode in my Saviour 
as I ought : I have gone down to Egypt for help, and 
therefore is all this come upon me : otherwise, I should 
still inherit that word applied to me with power in the 
first o-athering of my household, " Thou art my hope and 
my fortress, my castle and deliverer, my defender in 
whom I have trusted ; who subdueth the people that are 
under me." I mentioned before, that we had met with 
a large house in part furnished, which was of great ser- 
vice, as my own furniture was not yet arrived. There 
was land to it, and though dear, I saw it a providence, 
and an asylum till we could fix better. In the ordering 
of the out-door affairs, Mr. Taylor was very useful to me, 
and indeed had not he and his wife been with me, I do 
not think I should ever have got through some dUncullics 
which I had to encounter. One day he brought me word 
of a farm very cheap ; v^h^- freehold estate adjoining 
thereto, on which wer<"- nL. ^.'n*, u small house, and 



p\RT III.] MR3, FLETCHER. 87 

manv out-buildings. The farm was large ; and he 
thought, if besides the farm-house, we were to build one 
r,j<r e = nough for our family, it would be cheaper than to 
rent a house. I was very averse to the undertaking ; 
but there was no time to lose, as many were seeking 
• fter it. I went to Leeds to consult the most judicious of 
v friends ; in particular Mr. R. a man well acquainted 
with business, and the most intimate friend I had in York- 
shire : — He answered, " You may look on this, as Isaa<- 
did when he found a well, for which they did not strive." 
He said, " The Lord hath made room for us in the hind."' 1 
a So," added he, " may you say ; for had you waited a 
dozen vears, you might not have met with such an oppor- 
tunity." I objected, " That I did not understand it, and 
that perhaps it would sink instead of increasing my 
income." He replied, " Richard Taylor knows well 
how to manage it, if you do not ; and 1 have no doubt 
that it will clear you a hundred and fifty pounds a year, 
which will be good interest for your money." I now 
remembered the reflection cast on me at Layton-stone, 
viz. " If she wants to do good with her fortune, let her 
take up a little trade. She talks of the poverty of Jesus • 
let us see her work at a trade as he did." That thought 
had much weight with me. I prayed for light, and took 
the place ; bought the estate, formed the plan for the 
house, and set about it. The first mark of the favour of 
God was, we had some of our work-people converted, 
so that before half the house was built, we had a good 
class. The desire after purity of heart was much reviv- 
ed among the neighbouring societies ; and I found in 
many ways there was a wider field opened for doing good 
than I had ever before experienced. I had some among 
the members of my family also, who were very helpful 
in the work of God. By settling on a new plan, I found 
it more easy to draw things into my own hand. I removed 
some, and put others into their proper place. 



88 THE LIFE OP [PART III. 

The building I found no cheaper than in the south, or 
but little so : It cost a good deal more than at first pro- 
posed. The farm took a great deal to stock, and bring 
into order ; and as most of my capital lay in an estate, 
(or in that sum my dear father on his death-bed so 
lamented that he had tied up from me,) I had not sufficient 
for all the expenses, with the purchase of the freehold ; 
and was obliged to take up money on interest, which I 
hoped to pay off at fifty pounds per year. The malt-kilns 
seemed to answer well, and cleared the first year fifty 
pounds, above all expenses. 

Our call was a good deal abroad in the work of God, 
and we had encouragement therein. A few (and at that 
time but a few,) in that part had a desire after holiness.— 
Some years before this, sister Crosby had spent a little 
time in Yorkshire. She told them, what a wonderful 
work of sanctification God was carrying on in London. 
Many were affected with her words, and two or three in 
this place retained the light and power then given to them. 
These we agreed to meet once a fortnight ; and unite 
our cry to the Lord, that he would pour out a spirit of 
conviction on his people, and that the neighbouring 
societies might be stirred up to seek for purity of heart. 
We had not met many times before the answer came ; 
one and another begged to join in our Wednesday-night 
meetings, and our number increased to about fifty, all of 
whom were ardently desiring, or sweetly brought into, 
that liberty. When we grew too numerous, (for they 
be-an to come from many miles round,) I advised those 
who were able, to gather a meeting of the same kind, 
near their own homes. This was attended with many 
blessings. We sometimes visited those infant meetings, 
and they increased and spread as well as ours. It must 
be observed, none were admitted as members into our 
meeting, but those who were truly awakened to seek for 
holiness, as before they had been to seek for pardon. 



FART HI.] MRS ' FLETCHER. o9 

Others, if we judged them sincere, were sometimes occa- 
sionally admitted : but we were very careful whom we 
considered as fixed members. Of these I had a separate 
list ; and about once a quarter met them apart from the 
others. I felt myself led to enforce on them some par- 
ticular observations, which they frequently asked me to 
ge t down on paper. I did therefore set them down as 

follows:— _ 

4s you have expressed a desire that I would give you 
on paper, the few observations I have sometimes made 
on Wednesday-nights, I will endeavour so to do, as far as 
I can recollect. And if my dear Lord is pleased to help 
v ou through so weak an instrument, He shall have the 
more abundant praise. 

First, I would recommend you to be very careful whom 
you admit into your meeting. Consider no one as mem- 
ber thereof who is not steadily seeking after Christian 
perfection ; that is, a heart simplified by love divine, and 
kept each moment, by faith, from the pollution of sin. 
Whosoever agrees not with you in this point, will greatly 
interrupt your design. 

Secondly, See that you fix on your minds, — We come 
together to get our faith increased ; and expect as much 
that our souls should be refreshed by our meeting, as we 
do our bodies to be refreshed by our food. Come with 
a lively expectation ; and that your expectation may not 
be cut off, keep your spirit all the time in continual 
prayer : united prayer can never go unanswered. Mr. 
Fletcher, on this head, has a lively observation. — " When 
many believing hearts, says he, are lifted up, and wrestle 
in prayer together, we may compare them to many hands 
which work a large pump ; at such times particularly the 
fountains of the great deep are broken up, the windows 
of heaven are opened, and rivers of living water flow 
from the hearts of obedient believers." 

Thirdly, Bear with each other's mistakes or infir- 
mities in love. Consider the members, as if they were 

8 * 



90 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

your own children. How much will a man bear with in 
his otcra son that servethhim? A threefold cord cannot be 
easily broken. Satan will leave no stone unturned to dis- 
unite you : — but O remember, the characteristic of the 
evangelical dispensation is, — 

" The love that turns the other cheek ; 
The love inviolably meek, 
Which bears, but conquers all." 

Fourthly, Be well aware of that deadly poison, so fre- 
quent among professors, I mean evil-speaking. It will 
cover itself under a thousand forms ; and, alas ! how many 
sincere hearts swallow this gilded bait, before they know 
what they are about. Never repeat the fault of an ab- 
sent person, unless it be absolutely needful. In particu- 
lar, speak not evil of dignities ; neither of our king, on 
whose account we have the greatest reason to be thankful ; 
nor yet of any in authority under him. Neither those 
whom God hath set over us as spiritual teachers. If any 
of these do not speak just as we could have wished, ne- 
ver forget that one may have his gift after this manner, 
another after that. The exhortation not so immediately 
useful to your state, may nevertheless be put into their 
mouth at that time for another person then present. 
Known unto God are all his -ways; and as He hath said, 
A cup of cold water given to a prophet shall not be forgot- 
ten, how pleasing will it be in His sight, if by faith and 
prayer we hold up the hands of his praying servants. 

Fifthly, Hold fast the truth in a pure conscience. Let 
not one spark of your light be put out. Though all your 
teachers, brethren, friends, yea, the whole church, were 
to turn against the truth, let nothing make you forget, 
The blood of Jesus cleanseih from all sin ; and that he keepa 
that soul for ever clean, who day and night hangs on him 
by simple faith. 

Sixthly, " Be always ready to give an account to those 
that ask you a reason of the hope that is in you. In or- 



PART III.] MRS * FLETCHER. 91 

w to this, let us pray for clear ideas of what we seek, 
and what we possess. Bear in mind, that to perfect holi- 
ness in the fear of the Lord, is no more than you have al- 
ready promised ; First, By your sponsors in baptism ; 
secondly, In your own person, when you made those vows 
vour own by confirmation : and thirdly, Whenever you 
renew that covenant by coming to the Lord's table. 
" You have engaged to renounce the devil and all his 
works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and 
all the sinful lusts of the flesh ; to believe all the articles 
of the Christian faith; to keep God's holy will and com- 
mandments, and to walk in the same all the days of your 
life." And is not this vowing to perfect holiness in the fear 
of God? Does the first part of this sacred engagement, 
To renounce the devil and all his works, leave any room 
for the least agreement with the devil, the world, or the 
flesh ? Does the second, — To believe all the articles of 
the Christian faith, make the least allowance for one doubt 
with respect to any one article of the Christian faith ? Or, 
Does the third allow the wilful breach of any one of God's 
commandments ? Again, Do we not all profess to believe 
it to be our duty, to love God with all our heart, and our 
neighbour as ourselves ? Weigh the depth of those two 
expressions. Do they not imply, love made perfect, or, 
in other words, Christian perfection ? 

Seventhly, Remember that saying of Solomon, The zvisc 
mail's eyes are in his head. Let your eye of faith be steadily 
fixed on your Living Head, deeply conscious of that 
word — 

" Having done all, by faith I stand, 
And give the praise, O Lord, to thee !" 

A holy man makes this observation, — " Persevering be- 
lievers are little omnipotents." Abide then every mo- 
ment in the living vine, from whom you constantly draw 
your life, as the coal its heat from the fire ; — it was all 
black, cold., and filthy, before it was impregnated with the 



92 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

fire that kindled it; but if by any accident it fall there- 
from, the shining perfection which it had acquired, gra- 
dually wears away, and it becomes a filthy cinder, the 
black emblem of an apostate. So true is that saying of 
our Lord, Without me ye can do nothing. 

Eighthly, Consider yourselves as united by a holy co- 
venant to God and to each other ; aiming to advance the 
glory of God all you possibly can. 

" Ye for Christ your Master stand 
Lights in a benighted land." 

Beware then that your light become not darkness ; let no 
one be discouraged from seeking Christian holiness, by 
any thing they see in your life and conversation. We 
must become a whole burnt-sacrifice. The soldier en- 
listed under the banner of his king, may neither leave his 
post, nor choose his employment. We have covenanted 
to be the Lord's ; and may not draw back one power, no 
nor one thought, from his service. Be it then engraven 
on our hearts, as with a diamond pen, " Thy vows, O 
God, are upon me : I have opened my mouth unto the 
Lord, and cannot go back." 

Glory be to God, it might be said of Cross-Hall, (the 
name of our present habitation.) many a soul has been 
born in her, and many sweet seasons did we know with 
the Lord ; and I do at this day declare, I shall ever adore 
the wisdom of God in bringing me down to settle in York- 
shire. It was good for the work of God. It was good 
for my own soul ;* but for a season it did not appear good 
for my temporal affairs. I had not been seven years there, 
before I saw myself brought into great perplexity, from 

* Nothing could prevent such a devoted person from bearing fruit unto 
God. In answer to the prayer of faith, He opens rivers in the high places, 
and streams in the desert. Mr. Wesley, speaking of her settlement in York- 
shire, observes, (see his Works, vol. iv.) " Saturday, July 7th, 1770,1 
rode to Miss Bosanquet's. Her family is still a pattern, and a general 
blessing to the country." Ed. 



p\RT III.] MRS< FLETCHER. 03 

circumstances I shall by and by relate. But whatever 
occurred, I must ever praise the Lord, that his provi- 
dence brought me there. I had a continual presentiment, 
my troubles were for an appointed time ; and that in the 
end deliverance would be given from every difficulty. 

I found my mind much united to brother and sister Tay- 
lor. I strove to remove their burdens, and went in per- 
son to their creditors. After meeting with some opposi- 
tion, I got their affairs settled, at the expense of between 
two and three hundred pounds. 

After the death of sister Ryan, my soul had many 
risings and sinkings. Sometimes I seemed to lose my way, 
and knew not where or what I was. For about two years, 
I sunk into fear, care, self-indulgence, and many wander- 
ings. Yet my aim was towards the Lord, who, after that 
season, began again to renew in me a tender conscience, 
and as my outward sorrows increased, so my inward light 
and power began to revive. It was soon after that time 
that we began the meeting above-mentioned, as near as I 
can remember, though I have not set down the exact date 
thereof, but by my diary it appears to be about a year 
after my soul began again to walk by faith. These meet- 
ings were to me a singular blessing. They cost me many 
a wrestling prayer, and when the nights approached, when 
we were to meet, Oh ! the sinking into nothing before 
God, my spirit used to feel ! Of all the meetings I ever 
was employed in while in Yorkshire, I know not I ever 
felt my soul so conscious of the Lord's approval as in 
these. I must acknowledge it occasioned both expense 
and labour. Frequently I had many beds to make up, 
and many friends and their horses to entertain. But I 
saw it such an honour to be (as I sometimes expressed it) 
the Lord's Inn-keeper, that I could feel nothing but satis- 
faction therein. Those words were often applied with 
sreat sweetness. The birds of the air shall rest under % 
branches. 



U4 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

I now found a fresh conviction of the necessity of di- 
vine help, that I might go in and out before my family, in 
such a manner as would lead them into the most excel- 
lent way ; and when any thing particular rested on my 
mind, I usually set it down in the way of diary. — On 
looking over old papers, I find the following remarks ; 
but am not quite clear as to the dates : — 

" This day I have been solemnly renewing my cove- 
nant with the Lord, and considering over our family rules, 
fasts, and meetings. I have been praying for fresh vigour 
and resolution in the use thereof; and while reading this 
morning the vision of Samuel concerning Eli, I was led to 
inquire how far it was my own case ? Lord, thou hast 
made me the head of this family. Do I bear the sword in 
vain ? Show me, Lord, what I can do to help them, con- 
sidered one by one, and how I may help to put away, in 
each, whatever would offend. The thoughts which flowed" 
into my mind were as follows : — 

First, Love is the end of the commandment. If I would 
wish to be such a head as God approves, I must have no 
spring of action but love. Yet when we have many tem- 
pers to suit ourselves to, all their burdens to bear, and: 
their every want to supply, (even in narrow circumstan- 
ces,) nature is apt to grow weary. It is very easy to give 
our neighbour what we can spare, but to pinch ourselves, 
and even to run the risk of debts and distress for their* 
sakes, makes the work far more hard. How then shall 
I get and keep that spirit of love to each which is needful 
for my fulfilling towards them the place of a mother ? or, 
in some sense, to be a pillar in God's house, who is ap- 
pointed to bear the weight of the whole building 1 

I will call over each member in my mind with solemn 
prayer, and search out every perfection of every kind ;'■ — 
Every trace of the image of God which I can discern in 
each, and enter them on paper ; adding thereto every 
fresh discovery, — and then to each name affix a plan, de-> 
noting what is the best method of helping that person's 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 95 

infirmities, and strengthening their virtues. Ifldonot 
thus study the tempers and disposition of my family, how 
unlike will my carriage he to that of my Heavenly Father 
towards me. I am also much convinced of the necessity 
of being exact in early rising, both for the good of my own 
soul, and that of my family ; and as I am now better, I 
trust to be able to execute my purpose. I shall also 
meet the family at stated times, for an hour, in order to 
inquire if brotherly love continues ? And to remove all 
hinderances thereto, I will at those times observe, — 

My design in having a family is to bring honour to God. 
If that end be not answered, I am disappointed, and the 
Spirit of God is grieved with those who hinder it. 

But in order to this, it is needful to be aware of Satan's 
devices, who will be always endeavouring to throw in 
something to wound love ; and among a large family, where 
there is multiplicity of business, perplexities will arise, 
which sometimes has a tendency to break, or at least to 
interrupt that sweet harmony of love, by which the church 
below is rendered a shadow of that above. 

To prevent this must be my constant labour. — I be- 
lieve you all love me ; and I am, my heavenly Father 
knows, united to every one of you. But that will not do, 
unless you are united among yourselves. I would there- 
fore inquire of each, one by one, — 

First, Do you find want of love to any one here ? If 
vou answer, yes, give your reason, and it shall be searched 
to the bottom, though it be in myself. 

Secondly, Is there any conduct of any member which 
you think might be mended ? 

Thirdly, We are to live only to, and for God. You all 
ran bear me witness, what we save, i.s saved for the poor, 
;nd the work of God. Now can any of you point out 
wherein we can save more ? This is to be done in little 
things ; — for instance, — suppose twenty of you had each 
a candle to use, and each person were to run it into the 



96 THE LIFE OF [PART in. 

fire, and waste a tenth part of the whole, that would be 
two candles lost per night. If each fire, (we will say 
ten,) burn one pennyworth of coals per day, more than 
is needful, there are five shillings and ten pence per week 
lost ; enough to make two poor people, who love and 
serve the Lord, comfortable. The same may be said of 
every thing we eat, drink, wear, or make use of. Saving- 
ness gives a constant and profitable use of the cross ; as 
Well as administers, by those small acts of self-denial, to 
the necessities of our brethren. If we are thirty in fa- 
mily, besides many strangers, — suppose every one by fru- 
gality to save (every thing being put together.) but two- 
pence per day ; what a large sum will that make in the 
whole year, nearly an hundred pounds ! and how many 
of the saints of God may be fed and clothed therewith ? 

Fourthly, Time is a most invaluable talent ; and there 
is scarcely an hour but we may save some minutes, by 
doing every thing as to the Lord, that is, in the best 
manner we are able. It is a true saying, a thing once 
well done is twice done. For instance, if you sew a 
seam carelessly, it will soon want doing over again. If 
you clean any thing by halves, it will want a repetition 
almost directly. If linen is badly got up, and not of a 
good colour, it will not wear half the time. Consequently, 
the next wash will be larger, will require more time, 
more soap, more fire, &c. If you teach the children by 
halves, they will need so many more lessons, and be so 
much the longer before they are useful at home, or fit to 
go out ; so that the desire of saving time, calls for the 
most diligent application in every thing. But in order 
truly to buy up this precious talent, there is a necessity 
of walking as in the constant presence of God. By that 
recollection, we shall cut off useless words and thoughts, 
which are the canker-worms that eat up our time. 

Fifthly, The power of speech is a great talent. It is 
an instrument of much good, or much evil. The tongue 
i* a little member, yet how much good or evil is it capable 



PART III.] M**. FLETCHER. 97 

of kindling ? A little spark may be the beginning of a 
flame powerful enough to destroy a whole city : and one 
wrong word may draw on another, until the tongue, 
"which is. a world of iniquity, may set on fire all the 
members, being itself set on fire of hell." On the other 
hand, in a large family, how useful may that member be ! 
While it possesses the honour of being God's advocate, 
and watches every moment for an opportunity to call in 
the minds of those around you, to a closer attention to 
God. The right use of the tongue is of the utmost con- 
sequence, (especially in. a religious community.) and 
worthy our strictest and most earnest endeavours ; since 
the apostle says — "He that oftendeth not in word, the 
same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole 

body." 

The next Frida} r after this famity meeting, I proposed 
as a fast ; — at twelve we were to meet for one hour, 
chiefly for earnest prayer. At these seasons I frequently 
found much of the presence and approval of God, and I 
believe they were blest to many of the family. 

To return to my outward situation. When I had been 
a few years in Cross-hall, I had many trials of faith and 
patience. Sometimes I was all fears ; and at others, I 
had a lively confidence in that word, — Stand to my will, 
and thou shalt sitffier no detriment, which was applied to 
me just before the period of sister Ryan's death. 

Various circumstances now agitated my mind ; and fre- 
quently with groans and tears have I said before the Lord. 
— " Oh ! that I could meet with a friend, as divinely 
enlightened, and as faithful, as the one I have lost. It 
would be worth going over red-hot bars of iron to pro- 
cure." But though I knew some of the excellent of the 
earth, yea, and had some of them under my own roof, 
yet friendship is so immediately the gift of God, we 
cannot form it when we will. There must be a similitude 
of mind, a something which God alone can give, and 
which he at this time was pleased to withhold from me, 

9 



98 THE LIFE OF [PART 111. 

perhaps that 1 might learn to depend on himself alone. 
The point in which I was peculiarly sensible of the loss 
of my friend, was, in the character of a counsellor. I 
wanted to know and do the will of God. I feared 1 
was wrong in mv present situation, because things did not 
answer ; and yet I did not know which way to mend them. 
But I have always found, the best way is to stand still ; 
for I have learned by experience, that when we have no 
li«rht how to get out of our troubles, and no way seems 
to°open, the present duty is resignation. We have only 
to follow providence from day to day, making it our one 
business to persevere in a constant sense of the presence 
of God, and to lie before his feet as poor beggars, waiting 
for his direction. 

Some time before this, a circumstance happened, which 
though to appearance trifling, proved in the end very 
material. A gentleman who about two years before lost 
a wife he tenderly loved ; on hearing of me, and the 
close union which had subsisted between me and Mrs. 
Ryan, permitted a thought to dwell on his mind, — that 
uerhaps I was brought to Yorkshire by the providence 
of God to repair his loss. 

One day as I was returning from a little journey where 
I had been to meet some people, we called at an inn to 
bait the horse. Mr. *** was standing at a window of that 
inn. I came out and stood some time at the block wait- 
ing for my horse. A thought struck his mind, " I should 
like that woman for a wife ;"— but instantly he corrected 
it with that reflection, I know not whether she be a con- 
verted or an unconverted person ; a married or a single 
woman. Just then Mr. Taylor came up with the horse. 
The gentleman knew him, and coming out to speak to 
him, was much struck to find it was me. But as there 
was not any thing striking to me in the occurrence, I had 
quite forgotten it, till he recalled it to my remembrance 
*ome Years after. 



p\RT HI-] MRS. FLETCHER, 09 

As I was very free in making known my fears, lest my 
„ew undertaking should not answer, some friends have 
often said to me, "Why do not you consult Mr. *** ? He 
•.. t j lC only man for business in the country ; and having 
heard of your situation, he wishes to give Mr. Taylor 
some advice.'' — Not long after, a friend brought him to 
our house. I did not know at that time whether he were 
married or single. We soon fell into conversation about 
^he farm. He gave me some directions, and interested 
himself much in my affairs. I frequently applied to him 
in difficult occurrences, and he became in the common 
acceptation of the word, a familiar friend. 

My perplexities now increased. — The farm had sunk a 
verv large sum to bring it into order, and the kilns took 
much money to work them, a great deal of which Iny 
scattered up and down in debts, owing to me from les?er 
malsters. I applied not only to Mr. ***, but to some 
other sensible men. They looked over all, and said! 
was too much afraid : in a year or two, things wouid turn 
round.— That I had had a farm to make ; but it was now 
in such order, it would soon pay all again. This gn e 
me «ome satisfaction, but did not on the whole remove my 
fears. I also saw Mr. Taylor went too far ; — that he was 
inclined to venture much : that he kept too many men, 
and gave a great deal too much credit. 

This answered Mr. *** , s design. By these things he 
was inclined to think God was constraining me to accept 
the offer, which by this time he had made me of his hand, 
his heart, and his purse. His affections were strong, 
sincere, and constant. ; his offers generous, and his senti- 
ments tender. He loved my family ; and whoever was 
kind to me, found favour in .his eyes. This could not 
but operate on my gratitude. I was deeply pained. But 
I could not see him the man my highest reason chose to 
obey. First, I did not so honour the light he had in reli- 
gion, p? to believe it my privilege to be led thereby. 
Secondly, Though he was a good man, and helpful U 



{00 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

people in every respect, yet he did not see the narrow 
path of walking close with God, as I could wish the man 
i took for a husband to do. Thirdly, Though I had a 
grateful lore towards him, I could not find that satisfying 
uifection, which flows from perfect confidence ; and which 
Is the very spirit and soiil of marriage. 

I felt, however, in the keenest manner the need I had 
of his assistance in my affairs ; but I thought it unge- 
nerous to the last degree, to accept of help and counsel 
from one whose growing affection I was too sensible of, 
but to which, however, I could make no return. I used 
i he plainest terms in assuring him of the impossibility of 
our affection ever becoming reciprocal ; and proposed 
the breaking off all acquaintance. He alleged in answer, 
■• You cannot do without me. — You will be ruined ; — 
God hath made me your helper ; and if you cannot see 
or feci as 1 do, we will be only common friends. I will 
*ay no more on a subject so disagreeable to you." 

I lessened my family all I could, by putting out some, 
of the bigger children to trades, or servants' places ; but 
much expense attended it. Mr. Taylor also had several 
< liildren while with me, so that the family still consisted 
of twenty-five persons. The majority, however, were 
grown persons. But losses still continually came on ; 
and my first seven years in Yorkshire being nearly 
expired, 1 found an absolute need of some change, since 
in all this time things grew not better, but worse. 

I consulted Mr. *** a«d other friends, about my situa-* 
lion, but most were for some further exertion in trade. 
That I knew would not do. Others said, " Turn off all 
those members of your family, and you have enough to 
live on alone with a servant or two. ? ' No way, however, 
opened for them, and several were old, sickly, or help- 
less. I could not therefore see how that could be done, 
and if ever I thought on it, mountains of difficulty arose 
before me. Something seemed to whisper, a way shall 
'•■»• made ouiie plain : yet I saw it- my duty to do every 



FART III.] Mlls « FLETCHER. 101 

thin°" in my power. I therefore consulted Mr. ***, who 
knew my whole affairs as no other person did. He said 4 
a There is but one way for you, — Put the farm into Mr. 
Taylor's hand, entirely separate from yourself. Let him 
have the stock just as it is, and work the kilns as he can 
raise money. Let him pay you sixty pounds per year, 
and take his family to the end of the house. I verily 
believe he will live well, and lay up money ; and I will 
overlook all, and appraise every thing once a year." I 
jjj g0 . — Mr. *** took great pains, and Richard Taylor 
paid regularly. But as he was to have it free of debt, I 
found a good deal to pay which he had not brought to 
account ; so that before all was settled, I had money 
amin to take up on interest, which was no small affliction 
to me ; and could I have sold the place, I would have 
chosen it rather. 

We went on tolerably for three yenrs. Mr. *** 
thought the farm increased in heart. The stock also 
improved, and all was cheerful, except in my mind, 
which foreboded deeper waters. This was soon realized. 
In the beginning of the fourth year, Taylor was in debt 
to the amount of six hundred pounds. This was what I 
all along feared ; but I thought, I am not obliged to p:vy 
his debt : let him break and bear his own burden. 
}lr. *** at first thought the same, but soon we saw, either 
I must give up the stock, (which would be sold for half 
its value,) or pay the money. Besides, I was now informed, 
that when he ceased to act as my agent, 1 ought to have 
advertised it, that no one might trust him through con- 
fidence in me. But this, (being unused to business.) 
I did not know. 

I deeply felt for the appearance it would have to my 
relations. I had before, with their knowledge, taken up 
money on the Layton-stone estate, and my brothers were 
very kind, and ordered all my affairs in the south, to the 
best advantage. I did not therefore see it just or pru- 
dent to hide any thing from them. I wrote to my eldest 



102 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

brother a hill account of the whole ; but could not see, at 
that time, how I could pay: nor was I quite clear it was 
required of me. Taylor's wife, now big with child, 
wringing her hands, entreated me, in mercy to her, not 
to let her husband go to prison ; and, indeed, she was 
clear of blame, for all along she had been afflicted with 
the fear of what was now come upon them. I knew not 
what to do ; above all, the honour of religion was dear 
to me ; and it was too evident, without an appearance of 
dishonesty, I could not take back the stock, though really 
my own, and leave the debts unpaid. Besides, many of 
the persons were poor, and would be greatly hurt by the 
loss. We had also at this time a lively work ; for what- 
soever else did not prosper by going into Yorkshire, the 
work of God did. Being at length determined on the 
payment, the next difficulty was, where to raise the 
money. 1 had now taken back all my affairs out of Tay- 
lor's hands, but was incapable of managing the business 
myself, nor could I get the place disposed of. Mr. *** 
then offered to lend me the six hundred pounds on in- 
lerest, and to become a partner with me in the farm and 
kilns, so as to take the management of all. Here I was 
quite at a loss. I was almost ready to sajr, " Darkness- 
hath covered my path." Prudence, delicacy, every 
lively sentiment, started back at the thought. What! 
come under such an obligation to the man I am constantly 
refusing! Besides, such a fresh connexion will open the 
door to many trials. But there was no alternative ; I 
must accept his help or be ruined. I therefore followed 
what appeared to be the leadings of Providence. A little 
before this, I had a drawing in my mind to go for six 
months to Bath, Bristol, and the parts adjacent, believing 
it to be the order of God : and I was not sorry for an ex- 
cuse to get two hundred miles from poor Mr. ***. 

One night conversing with a friend on the difficulties 
«i)f my situation, he said, •' 1 cannot approve of your pro- 
ceedings ; I fear you fight against Providence. Here are 



p\RT III-] MRS * FLETCHER, 103 

several doors open before you. If you object to Mr. ***■ 
why do not you accept of some other of those good men, 
w hom the Lord seems to have cast in your way ? You 
stand stiffly in the choice of a single life, and it seems to 
m e, God fights against you in so doing. The end will be 
ruin. You will be brought to a prison, and all the re- 
proach will be cast on religion. If you build on the for- 
mer promise I have heard you mention, That the Almighty 
shall be your defence, and you shall have plenty of silver, I 
account you no better than an enthusiast. Have you not 
waited long enough ? You hoped for deliverance at the 
en d of the first seven years ; but four are elapsed since, 
and if you wait till the end of the next seven, you will be 
n o nearer." Though his words did not convince my 
judgment, they pained my heart. Nothing was to me 
more dreadful than the thought of getting out of God's 
order. I carried my case to the Lord, and striving to 
divest my soul of every prejudice, I offered up myself to 
God, that he might accomplish all his will upon me — 
pleading before him, " Show me thy way, and I will walk 
in it." But the more I prayed, the clearer the light 
seemed to shine on my present path ; and the only an- 
;-,ver I could obtain was — Stand still and see my salvation. 
Being one day at prayer about my situation, I thought, 
perhaps I shall sink lower still. Though Mr. *** be- 
lieves he shall make much of the business, he may be 
mistaken ; and should I lose more than my estate at Lay- 
ton-stone, and this place also will pay, then I shall have 
debts I cannot answer ; and while there is but a bare 
possibility of that, shall I eat and drink as if it was my 
own ? Ah ! no ; let me rather live on bread and water. 
I have no right, except merely to sustain life, till I re- 
ceive from God some answer, or see, by sound reason, 
that all will be prjd. I began to do so that very day I 
But the following night I had a most particular time be- 
fore the Lord ! He showed me (by a light on my under- 
standing) that all my trials were appointed by Himself \ 



104 THE LIFE OP [fAKi jn. 

that they were laid on by weight and measure, and should 
go no farther than they would work for my good. He 
pointed me to the time at Hoxton, causing me to remem- 
ber how simply I had walked by faith, and showing me 
my 'sin in having drawn back from that close communion. 
That although I did, in a measure, still walk with God, 
yet 1 could not say as then, / live not, but Christ liveih in 
me* I had depended on creatures for help, and there- 
fore He had let me feel the weight of my burdens, that I 
might be constrained to cast them afresh on Him ; and 
that when He had proved and tried me, He would deli- 
ver me from all my outward burdens. As a pledge of 
the inward liberty he would afterward bring me into, 
and that the ways and means of my deliverance were in 
his own hands, and should appear in the appointed time, 
those words were again brought powerfully to my mind : 
If thou put away iniquity far from thy tabernacle — So shalt 
thou lift up thy face unto God. Thou shalt decree a thing, 
and it shall be established unto thee ; and the light shall shine 
upon thy path. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and 
thou shalt have plenty of silver. He showed me that all 
my perplexities and trials were only the thorn-hedge* 
which his love had planted around me, to preserve me 
from running farther astray. It was a profitable and 
melting time. 

From that hour I began to take my meat again with 
gladness and singleness of heart. During the above time 
of prayer, while I was asking light for my immediate 
duties, it appeared to me best to take Mr. Taylor down 
with us to Bath ; and that from the time I did so, his 
family would no more be such a burden to me. And 
truly so it proved. For my sister met me there, and 
was greatly struck with compassion towards him. She 
helped him herself, and raised him many friends ; so that 
all the rest of the time the family were under my roof, 

* The truth was, I believe, she had not that lively sense of it. She wai 
'oaded with cares ; but they were all consistent with purity. Ed, 



URT IH-] MRS * FLETCHER> W5 

] e children were entirely supported with the help 
1 Sch arose from that journey.— I saw much of the order 
"{ God while from home ; and after six months, I re- 
Surned with thankfulness ; though not without that kind 
of sensation which a scourged child would have in return- 
ing to the rod. ,.,.., 

I must here mention a circumstance which, m order 
of time, occurred some months before. In my deep 
troubles, especially after the conversation with the friend 
above-mentioned concerning marriage, a thought occur- 
red to my mind—" Perhaps Mr. Fletcher is to be my 
deliverer. May not that be the way to bring me out of 
these incumbrances ?" But I started from the very idea, 
lest it should be a stratagem of Satan. We had not seen 
or heard from each other for more than fifteen years. 
Yet when striving to find out some way, that idea would 
frequently present itself before me. 

In the month of August, 1777, going into a friend's 
house who was just come from the conference, he said,, 
« Do you know that Mr. Fletcher, of Madely, is dying?— 
Indeed I know not but he is dead. If he hold out a little, 
longer, he is to go abroad ; but it is a pity, for he will 
die by the way, being in the last stage of a consumption." 
I heard the account with the utmost calmness. For some 
days I bore his burden before the Lord ; and constantly 
offered him up to the will of God. A few days after 3 
another of my acquaintance wrote word, — " Mr. Fletcher 
is very bad ; spits blood profusely, and perspires pro- 
fusely every night. Some have great hope that prayer- 
will raise him up ; but, for my part, I believe he is a 
dying man, as sure as he is now a living one. ?; As I was 
one day in prayer, offering him up to the Lord, these 
words passed my mind : " The prayer of faith shall save 
the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up." I said, " Lord, 
I dare not ask it ; I leave it to thy sacred will : thy wit! 
he done'" 



106 THE LIFE OF [PART iy. 

The following thoughts occurred to my mind — If the 
Lord should raise him up, and bring him in safety back to 
England ; and he should propose such a step, could I 
doubt its being of God, after such an answer to prayer? 
Yet fearing a deception, I cried to the Lord to keep me 
in his narrow way, whatever I might suffer, and felt an 
unaccountable liberty to ask the following signs, if it 
really were of Him. 1. That Mr. Fletcher might be 
raised up. 2. That he might be brought back to Eng- 
land. 3. That he would write to me on the subject, be- 
fore he saw me, though we had been so many years asun- 
der, without so much as a message passing on any subject. 
4. That he would, in that letter, tell me, it had been the 
object of his thoughts and prayers for some years. It 
came to my mind further, that should this occur in the 
end of the year 1781, it would be a still greater confirma- 
tion, as Providence seemed to point me to that season as 
a time of hope. 

We returned from Bath in the beginning of the year 
1778. I found cresses and troubles yet awaited me. 
Mr- *** was still my partner, and I was enabled to pay 
him and every creditor the full interest of the money 
taken up ; but not to lessen the capital. Indeed, all 
along I was able to answer every demand. We continued 
our trade some time longer; but, at length, Mr. *** 
found my fears were better grounded than his hopes. 
Instead of an hundred pounds to put into my lap (as he 
expected) each year towards the debt, we found, on the 
strictest account of every grain of corn, pint of milk, .or 
pound of butter, either sold or used in the family, that 
the farm did not pay iis own way- though he had. put 
many things on a cheaper plan than before. The inter- 
est also swallowed up so great a part of my income, that 
it was not possible to keep more than half my family with 
what remained. As to the kilns, I had neither money 
nor courage to work them. I thought of many expe- 



PVHT HI.] ^ IR3, FLETCHER. 107 

dients. I strove, I worked hard, I prayed ; and at length 
proposed to the members of my family to disperse, and 
learn some little business, and I would allow each what I 

could. 

Great affliction now sat on every face. Tears were 
shed in plenty. They alleged, " Till you can get rid of 
this place, you must live here. If you leave it empty, 
the house will be spoiled, and that will injure the sale ; 
and we know not what to do, nor how to turn. After 
bein " twenty years with you, (said one,) how strange will 
a new situation appear ? — And I, (said another,) after 
eighteen years ? And after being twelve years together, 
('said some others,) how hard it is to part !" It was a 
most painful time ; and I saw there was no way, but rirst 
to sell the place and then disperse. 

But now a door seemed to open — a gentleman sent me 
word that he would buy the place, stock, lease, and all 
together. He was a man both of fortune and of honour, 
and really wished to help me out of my difficulties. The 
price which he offered would bring me through all, and 
leave me a good income. Now I began to look up, and 
to form a plan for my future life, how to settle myself, 
and dispose of each member of my family. I gave an 
account of every particular, and the bargain was in part 
made. But, alas ! our wisdom is folly ! — He took a fever, 
and died in a few r days ! To add to my difficulties, just at 
this time my brother wrote me word, that it would be 
ihrowing away the Layton-stone estate to sell it with so 
long a lease upon it ; and that it could not with any pro- 
priety be done. I now saw but one way — to advertise 
Cross-hall, and sell it for what I could ; and paying that 
away as far as it would go, strive yearly to lessen the re- 
maining part of the debt by my income : reserving only 
fifty pounds per year to live on, and out of it to help my 
friends. But I recolleeted, that I might not live long 
enough thus to pay the debt by my income. I had still a 
strong confidence in a promise given to me before I went 



iAM THE LIFE OF [PART Hj. 

to Bath— that no one should lose any thing by me ; yet I 
thought it was required of me to do every thing in my 
power towards it. 

I then proposed to myself to keep only twenty pound* 
per year. Nay, I thought, how can I have a right even 
to twenty ? Justice is before mercy. They must all 
shift for thomsi-lvos, and 1 will do the same. I may per- 
haps find seme little business by which life may be sus- 
tained, till my affairs take a favourable turn. It is true 
nobody calls in their money, nor seems to have a fear 
concerning it ; vet, it is* my duty to take the more care 
for them, because, of their confidence in me. It may be 
sivj«',;Osod, -s I was daily striving to part with the place, 
and expecting to turn out, that my thoughts frequently 
were occupied on what way of life I should choose, as 
mo>t conducive to the glory of God ; and during this 
season, the Lord did teach me many lessons of poverty 
and resignation. It seemed to me no manner of life could 
be disagreeable, if I had but a prospect of having no 
debts. — One day as I was standing at a window musing 
on this subject, I saw a poor man driving some asses 
laden with sand, by which he gained his bread. As I 
looked on him, a spring of satisfaction ran through my 
mind, and I thought,— I am perfectly willing to take up 
the business of that man. If I preserve unsold one of 
the freehold cottages, the asses might graze on the com- 
mon, and I could follow them with something to sell. 
There were but few trades which my conscience would 
suffer me to follow ; and my abilities were equal to still 
fewer. But to any thing in the whole world would I 
turn, that was not sinful, rather than remain in debt. I 
do not mean that I decided to act thus ; but so conformed 
was my mind to poverty at this time, that the thought of 
even that employment, as it now glanced through it, gave 
me a real pleasure. However open I had been with my 
relations concerning my affairs hitherto, I determined to 
conceal all personal wants j for if I voluntarily gave up 



PART III.] MRS * FLETCHER, 109 

nvy income, for the payment of my debts, 1 did not see 
it to be just to live on theirs ; and this would not have 
been difficult, as I had no relation that lived within two 
hundred miles. 

Sometimes it appeared to me quite clear, that Mr, 
Fletcher was the friend God would raise up for me. He 

a( noW much recovered, and about to return to England, 
however, I feared to lay any stress on that ; but while 
•hinkino- on it, I received a letter from a friend, inform- 
no- me, that Mr. Fletcher had settled abroad, and pro- 
posed to see England no more. This was a false report, 
he never had such a thought ; but as it came from an 
intimate friend, I had reason to believe it. Thus was I 
•-ut off from the prospect of any human help ! but I kept 
to mv old word, " My soul wait thou upon God, from 
Him cometh my salvation." 

My heart was much oppressed. I had not advertised 
the place, because some advised me not, saying it was 
the way rather to hurt the sale ; nor did any one so much 
as inquire after it, though my mind was well known. I 
could now only stand still, for I knew not which way to 
go. During this suspense, conversing one day with my 
friend Mr.***, he said, " Indeed I am at a loss what to 
Jo for you. — I thought to have helped you greatly by the 
continuance of the farm ; but, alas ! I wish I had suffered 
vou to advertise and sell it for any thing six years ago , 
and you then could have done it. It is now too lute. 
The nation is engaged in wars : you would now sell it for 
a trifle. I consulted some friends the other day, who all 
nsrree, that separate from the stock, you must not expect 
above six hundred pounds for the whole place. You are 
ruined madam !• — You withstand the order of God. My 
fortune is enough for you and me. — But you cannot see 
in my light. — May the Lord stand by you ! — But I cannot 
think of a partnership any longer, the blame would M} 



on nre !" 



10 



HO THE LIFE OF [PART III, 

It was now the summer of 178 1 . The seventh of June 
in that year, I entered into my fourteenth year in York- 
shire. — I had all along an impression, that about that sea- 
son something would open. One day as I was walking 
up a narrow lane which had a stile at the top, I saw a 
flock of sheep before me. The shepherd had hard work 
to drive them on ; they seemed determined to turn again. 
I thought, well they may, for there is no gate, no way 
through ; what can he wish them to do ? He forced them 
along, however, with dogs and sticks. I said in my mind, 
si These sheep are like me, drove on in a narrow path 
without any way to get out." I followed at a distance, 
expecting every moment they would turn back upon me, 
—when all at once they began to run, and I discovered 
a new made gate into a spacious field of turnips. In a 
minute they were dispersed, and fell to their full pasture 
with great delight. Faith whispered to my heart, — so 
shall a door open before you in the appointed time. 

That passage of the Psalmist was much impressed on 
my mind at this time, — " The rod of the wicked shall 
not always remain in the lot of the righteous, lest the 
righteous put forth his hand to iniquity. And frequently 
those words also came with power, The days shall be 
shortened; by which I rather thought, some change 
would take place in the beginning of the last year of my 
two apprenticeships in Yorkshire. And now the seventh 
of June came ; and I was almost constrained to say, 
Thou hast not delivered thy people at all. There was no 
appearance of any such thing ; all was dark. 

" All was with sable terror hung." 

■■<8 ® i »» 



1 have continued the narrative unbroken, through this 
ioudy and dark day. All was conflict respecting the 
creatures ; but the Lord tempered the evil with occti- 
-ional intimations that, 



PART III.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 1 1 1 

" Behind a frowning providence, 
He hid a smiling face." 

3Irs. Fletcher was thus kept from " growing weary in 

well doing," and enabled to " believe in tke faithfulness 
of Him who knoweth the way of the righteous :" and who 
«< in every temptation maketh a way for their escape." 
The pious reader will wish to know her walk with the 
Lord, during this evil day. An extract from her journal 
will °ive a clear view of this ; and it will be seen, that, 
although this blessed woman was thus cast dozvn, she was 
not forsaken ; though perplexed, she was not, for a moment, 
in despair ; she still " looked, not at the things that are 
seen, and which are temporal, but at the things which are 
not seen, and eternal." She felt her weakness ; yea, her 
utter helplessness ; yet she^was still confident. " She 
stood still to see the salvation of God. Ed. 

Sunday, December, 1772. My health is yet far from 
good. My head is much affected, and it is often presented 
to my mind, that I shall have an apoplexy. It is a pain- 
ful sensation. Sudden death does not appear to me n> 
pleasant. I seem not to have my evidence clear for 
heaven. " Lord, spare me a little that I may recover 
my strength, before I go hence and am no more seen." 
My nerves are very weak, and I feel a lowness which 1 
think affects my mind as to spiritual things ; but I feel ;. 
determination, whether weak or strong, to rise early and 
to visit the sick. Lord, give me to make the most of my 
short time ! and, O Jesus ! give me power to keep mv 
mind always fixed on thyself! 

January 16. 1773. Waked early, and was going to 
rise, buJ;,.;.iiiprofitable thoughts crowded into my mind. 
My distressing situation, as to outward things, seemed 
an intolerable burden, and I was betrayed into thinking 
of useless plans and schemes, how to avoid this fn« 1 



112 THE LIFE OF [PART III, 

rhink,) approaching ruin. Alas ! with all my anxiety and 
cape, I can do nothing. All I strive for seems overturned. 

Lord, give me the power to keep every thought 
stayed on thee! This day I have been a good deal 
hindered by company from walking by my rules, and I 
see I ought to receive every thing that occurs more 
immediately from the hand of God. 

January 17. Being very poorly, and the weather had, 

1 thought I would spend this day quietly at home, and set 
apart three hours for solemn examination, and fresh 
dedication of myself to God; and I found it good so to 
do. At night I felt much recollection, and had freedom 
in meeting the people, 

January 21, Friday. For a few days past I have been 
enabled to keep in mind,— That the cross is my chosen 
portion. Much taken up to-day in domestic affairs, in 
which I found my mind recollected. — A good deal also 
with the poor and sick, who came for advice. I seemed 
to be in my own element. But when in a more public 
way, I do not seem as much in my place. Company does 
not agree with my soul. 

January 25. Rose early, but not having much time 
for prayer, I was off my guard, and spoke very unkindly 
to A. T. I have not been with God much to-day ;— yet 
I seem to have had a cry in my heart to him. At night, 
I again gave way to a hasty spirit. Alas ! 1 seem to love 
to find fault, and to oblige others to see in my light, and 
^o justify me. O how unlike that holy simplicity I felt 
for a little while when at Hoxton ! 

February 2. Since I wrote last, I trust 1 have been 

in a growing frame. I went this day to A -. Had a 

good time in speaking from those words,— O Nebuchad- 
nezzar, -we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 

Feb. 17. This day in reading 3Ir. Fletcher^ Fourth 
Check, I found my soul much stirred up,— O for the close 
walk with God which he describes ! 



P\RT HI.] MRS ' FtETCHER - ll ^ 

Feb. 28. It was this week laid on my mind to go with 
RichardTnylor to A- — . I set out with prayer. When 
we had rode a few miles, the horse grew very ill. We 
stopped at a public inn just out of the town. In a few 
minutes a woman came in, who had observed us ;— *he 
said " Here are two or three of us who are seeking the 
Lord, just going to meet together at a house hard by,— 
pray will you come in ?" I answered, " If you will let 
a few of the neighbours know, that some strangers are 
going to have a meeting, we will come in for half an hour." 
In a°short time several were gathered, and we had a com- 
fortable season with them. When the meeting was con- 
cluded, It. Taylor said, " If any of you who have a larger 
house, will open the door, we will spend half an hour 
with you in the morning before we set off." Several 
offered. The largest house was fixed on ; and in the 
morning we had a good meeting, and* much of the 
presence of God. About ten we set out for the coal-pit 
at R. Here I saw a little of what the Methodist preach- 
ers see much, viz. deep poverty, dirt, and cold ; — but 
the Lord gave me freedom of speech, and some seemed 
to have an ear to hear, Lord ! let me not be a delicate 
disciple ! • 

Julv 2-1. For a lona: time I have been ill, from the 
cold I caught at R. and my eyes being bad from riding so 
many miles in a strong east wind, I have been unfit for 
writing since. On the 29th of May I set oat for Harrow- 
o-ate, where I was advised to go to drink the waters. We 
(rot in on Saturday night. The next day we were afflicted 
with hearing the sabbath greatly profaned both in the 
house and in the street. Under my window was a com- 
pany of men playing at horse-shoe. It seemed an hea- 
then country indeed. We reproved them, and never- 
observed the sabbath so broke again while we stayed. 
On Monday I began the waters, and thought,— -If it does 
not please the Lord that I should get good for my body, 
I will strive to get good for my soul. I will give mysvK 

10 * 



114 THE LIFE OF [PART 113,- 

rtp to prayer and reading. I have no opportunity here 
to act for the souls of others. I had nearness to God ; 
but a great weight rested on my mind. There were no 
lodgings but at the great Inns, and ours was full of 
ungodly company. They all ate at one table ; but this 
I could not bear, therefore I got a bit in my own room 
when they had done. However their talking, swearing, 
laughing, and music, I was forced to hear all day long. 
Sometimes a strange impression came on my mind, that 
'( should be called to bear my testimony for God to all the 
company that were there, but the pain that it brought 
with it was exqui&ite. 

After a few days, I was asked to go to Pannel, (about 
a mile from Harrowgate,) in order to hold a meeting at 
ihe house of a poor woman, who had taken the preach- 
ers in once or twice ; at which I found many had been 
offended, and .threatened much, so that I did not know 
what sort of treatment I was likely to meet with. Never- 
theless I did not dare to refuse. We had ji profitable 
time, and all was quiet. Two days after, I heard thai 
some of the chief opposers were much affected ; Glorj 
be to God ! — While we were holding the meeting, z 
drunken man came by, and stopped a little while, ther 
went on to the inn where I lodged, and told some of the 
gentlemen, that the iady who lived up stairs was preach- 
in"' at Pannel. He repeated also some of the words he 
had heard me speak. When we came home they watchec 
us in, and my maid, (who was a pious young woman,] 
going into the kitchen, they flocked about her, asking 
sn many questions, what her mistress had been doing a 
Pannel ? 

The following Sunday the company sent me a messag< 
ap stairs ; " That they unanimously requested I woul< 
have such a meeting with them in the great ball-room.' 
This was atrial indeed! It appeared to me, I shouli 
seem in their eyes as a bad woman, or a stage-player ;-> 
-and I feared they only sought an opportunity to behav,< 



PART III] 3IRS ' FLETCHER. 1 1 5"' 

rudely. Yet I consider* •■£,— diM see these people no 
more till I see them at the judgment seat of Christ. And 
shall it then be said to me,—" You might that day have 
warned us, but you would not !"— I answered them im- 
mediately, That I would wait on them at the time appoint- 
ed. They behaved very well, and the presence of the 
Lord was with us. The following Sunday they made the 
same request. Much more company came in, even from 
Hi°"h-Harrowgate : — but the Lord bore me through, and, 
glory be to him, we had some fruit. The nest day I 
returned home, better in health, and comfortable in mind. 
All praise be to the Lord ! 

Sunday, Oct. 17. Reflecting on the condition of Israel 
at the Red sea, — I thought, there is the picture of my 
situation. I also then will " stand still and see the salva- 
tion of God. Thy will be done !" Yes, my adorable 
Lord, strip me of every penny ; bring me not only to 
poverty, but what I far more dread, to insolvency. Yes ! 
strip me even of reputation ; let me be as " the filth and 
offscouring of all things," only let me have thy approval, 
and all shall be well. Yes, I will praise thee for all, and 
most for the severe. 

Oct. 18. Finding the family (which now consisted of 
men and women, boys and girls,) much laid on my mind : 
— in particular the children, some of the biggest of whom 
seemed getting into snares : — and considering that several 
must soon (because of my circumstances,) be thrust out 
into the world, I spent some time in pleading with the 
Lord, that he would not let the expense and labour, 
which had been laid out on these orphans, be all in vain, 
but that they might be truly brought to God ; though I 
saw we must be disperaed, through the losses and trial? 
which are come upon me. The Bible lay open before me, 
and I cast my eyes on those words, which were applied 
with power to my heart " Yet, behold, there shall be a 
remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daugh- 
tergj — behold, they shall come forth unto thee, and thou 



116 THE LIFE OF [PART Hf. 

shalt see their ways and their doings ; and ye shall be 
comforted concerning the evil I have brought on Jerusa- 
lem. And they shall comfort you when you shall see 
their ways and their doings ; and ye shall know that I 
have not done without cause, all that I have done, saith 
the Lord. ;! 

Monday, Nov. 6. I have received some upbraiding 
letters, asking me if I yet believed I should see those 
words fulfilled, " I will restore to you the ears the 
locusts have eaten ?" In the midst of my trials, it i s 
sometimes presented to my mind, — perhaps the Lord 
will draw me out of all this by marriage. Opportunities 
of this kind occur frequently ; but no sooner do I hear 
the offer, but a clear light seems to shine on my mind, as 
with this voice, you will neither be holier nor happier 
with this man. But I find 3Ir. Fletcher sometimes brought 
before me, and the same conviction does not intervene. 
— His eminent piety, and the remembrance of some little 
acts of friendship in our first acquaintance, look to me 
sometimes like a pointing of the finger of Providence. 
And yet I fear lest it should be a trick of Satan to hurt my 
mind. I know not even that we shall see each other on 
this side eternity. Lord, let me not be drawn into a 
snare! Well, this I resolve on, to strive against the 
thought ; and never to do the least thing towards a re- 
newal of our correspondence. No— I will fix my eye on 
the hundred forty and four thousand : praying only to live 
and die to God alone. Whatever is the will of God, I 
believe He will show it to me, and may His holy will be 
done. A few nights ago, as my mind was burdened lest 
Satan was about to get an advantage over me, I cried to 
the Lord, and felt much sorrow. In order to compose 
my mind, I did, (what I seldom do,) I prayed the Lord 
to direct me in opening to some passage of Scripture, 
which might draw me to himself, and compose me into a 
quiet frame. I took up, as I thought, a little Bible which 
lav before me, but (by accident,) one of the maids had 



PART HI-] MRS. FLETCHER. U^ 

put her small common prayer book in the place. With 
prayer I opened it, and cast my eyes on these words* 
» Almighty God who at the beginning did create our first 
parents Adam and Eve, and did sanctify and join them 
together in marriage ; pour upon you the riches of his 
o-race, sanctify and bless you, that you may please him 
both in body and soul, and live together in holy love unto 
vour lives end." I was struck with the words ; but saw 
the safest vvav was a quiet attention to the will of my God, 
on which I strove to lean my weary spirit. 

Monday, November 8. My mind is this morning affect- 
ed in a solemn manner. It seems to me I have yet more 
of the cross to expect, and more bitter cups to drink. 
O my Lord, what breaking do I need ! Well, do all thy 
will, so I may but feel that promise accomplished, Thou 
shalt walk with me in, white. Last night I went to bed 
recollected, and in the spirit of prayer, but had a dream 
which I cannot understand, though I believe it to be from 
God. Perhaps what I know not now I may know liere- 
after. I thought I was in a room with S. C. A. T. and 
some others. Mr. Fletcher was there sitting with us, 
and speaking of the things relating to a walk with God. 
At last he said, as it were abruptly, " I must go to Bristol ; 
will any of you go with me ?" A woman who sat by him 
said, " No not for the world. You know not what you 
will have to suffer, the devil walks there, and you will 
have all the powers of hell to grapple with." He 
replied, " I care not for ten thousand devils, for the name 
of Jesus will conquer them all !" He then turning to me 
said, " Will you go with me ? Not to help me to fight, 
but to help me to praise." I replied, " I will go, for 
while we trust in Jesus, all the powers of hell cannot 
liai'm us."-— I had no remembrance during my dream of 
his being a single man, or any thing of what had passed 
in my mind before. In all I said and did, I seemed acte^, 
■-non by another spirit rather than my own.. 



113 THE LIFE OP [PART {j*, 

November 15. In reading Mr. Elliot's life this day, 
I received a fresh conviction, how blessed an employ- 
ment it is to receive and comfort the messengers of the 
Lord, who have left their houses, and all the convenien- 
ces of life, to preach the gospel. God hath given me a 
home, though Christ had not where to lay his head ; 
and here I have the honour and privilege of giving a 
cup of water to his prophets. Lord, teach me to do it 
with more diligence ! 

December 2. This day as brother Bramah was 
meeting my band, he related an anecdote of a young 
man, which was blest to me. He was leader of a band 
of young men, all desirous of giving their whole hearts 
to God ; but it seemed to them they could not see the 
way clearly. One night he dreamed he was at the bot- 
tom of a deep but dry well, with his little company. He 
told them if they remained there they must perish, and 
exhorted them to strive hard to get out. Accordingly 
they* exerted all their strength endeavouring to get up, 
but all in vain. At last they were quite discouraged, and 
said, « What must we do ?" "Truly," said he, " I know 
not ;" but looking up, he saw in the sky a little bright 
spot which did not appear larger than half a crown. He 
looked at it for some time, when feeling himself move;, 
he looked down into the well, and found to his surprise 
he was risen some feet from the bottom. As soon how- 
ever as he looked down, he began to sink again. " 0, 
said he, now I have found the way out of the well ! It 
is by looking steadily on yonder bright spot ;" On which 
fixing his eye, he was brought up in a short time, and 
his feet were set on firm ground. This discovery of the 
way of faith, was greatly blest both to him and his bre- 
thren. I am convinced, could I thus constantly look to 
Jesus, as the author and finisher of my faith, the work of 
sanctification would be going on without hinderance. 

December 17. Last Friday 1 went to Leeds to meet 
some classes. O how much do I suffer for every meeting 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 119 

I ropose ! The enemy follows me hard with such buffet- 
tin*' fears and discouragements as I cannot express. 
However I determined to go and leave the event to 
God. At Mrs. C.'s many came in to tea, and being a 
mixed company, I thought, Lord, give me something 
profitable to say, or keep me silent ; and blessed be God 
it was a profitable time. After tea I conversed alone with 
one in deep distress, — and read in the providences she 
mentioned, a wonderful display of the wisdom, condescen- 
sion and guardian care of the Lord Jesus. When I 
returned into the dining room, a large class was ready for 
me, and the Lord was very present. Glory be to his 
name, he never fails his poor unworthy dust ! Then 
Mrs. Clapbam asked me if my strength would hold out 
to meet the children ? 1 assented, and also found some 
liberty. Immediately I began the second class, and there 
I found the Lord was very good indeed, — but my strength 
almost failed. After the people were gone, I talked 
closely with Mr. H. I trust not quite in vain. It being 
now late, we got a little supper, and went to bed. I 
had but little rest, being very feverish. Indeed I am 
seldom well in a town. Next day we visited several 
in peculiar states and circumstances, and here also I saw 
the Lord's hand. In the afternoon I returned home in 
peace. 

December 20. This was on the whole a good day. 
Taking some time in the Hermitage, my soul was re- 
freshed. My situation is perplexing ; but I feel myself 
calmly fixed on the will of God. I can, I do believe 
He will not let me take any step that is not for his glory. 
And if I do not get out of his order, I care, for nothing 
else. 

December 30. Waked early, and after losing some 
lime, (though kept from unprofitable thoughts,) I arose 
about five, and was blest in prayer ; but afterwards found 
myself very stupid, dull, and heavy. I went to see some 
=ick people, and their words were animating. I wa tt 



120 THE LIFE OF [PART m s 

humbled while they recorded several meetings in which 
my words had been blest to them. O my God, let me not 
help others into liberty, and myself remain in bondage. 
I heard also to day of some in Leeds that were brought 
into a fuller measure of love,— and that they had been 
blest ever since my being there. Ah ! Lord, how will 
this rise against me if I am not filled with Thee ! On all 
sides I hear of my words being blest, and yet I am only 
a poor pipe through which it passes. Lord, let me never 
rest till I have full redemption in thy blood. Sometimes 
all my soul is on the stretch, but then I rest again, and 
other cares my heart divide. How long! OLord! hovo 

long ! 

January 1, 1774. And do I yet see another year! 
Lord with what improvement ? Shine on my soul, while 
I examine for an answer. Blessed be thy name ! I have 
more faith than last year, I have more power, and my 
mouth is more open to speak for Thee. I am more 
deeply convinced of my vileness, which is such as 
none can conceive. I am also more on stretch for 

holiness. 

January 15, Friday night. This day I set apart as a 
fast. AU the morning I was tossed much with thoughts of 
temporal difficulties ; R. T. being quite unwilling to 
come into any scheme I can propose. In the afternoon I 
found more liberty in prayer, I was as in an agony. I 
said, ' : Lord, if it can be consistent with thy justice to 
make such a sinner as me entirely holy, do it ! Do it for 
thy name's sake ! Give me once more what thou gavest 
me at Hoxton. Do it, Lord ! in thy own way, I submit 
myself to any condition ; only make and keep me holy." 
My life seemed as if it would go from me, and my hands 
were so strained by the grasp, (which I afterwards foun^ 
they had of each other) that I could hardly use them for 
some time. But I did not gain the blessing I wanted. 

February 6. filessed be my adorable Saviour I am 
kept from all condemnation. I feel I am so born o/God> 



PART III.J 



MRS. FLETCHER. J 21 



j do not commit sin. But I have not that liberty of soul, 
that close communion which I want and believe to he my 
privilege. O my Saviour, shine more clearly! Let me 
fully enter into the good land ! 

Saturday, February 19. Glory be to God, I have been 
kept in peace this week, and my soul seems nearer to 
God. Yet I do not seem to have got " salvation appointed 
f or walls and bulwarks ;" — I am but a little child. But 
" Lord I am thine, save me." As to my outward affairs, 
thev are not now such a weight,— I have cast them on 
the' Lord, and I embrace his will. He without whom 
" a sparrow does not fall to the ground," will not leave 
nor forsake his poor helpless creature. 

Monday, 22. Yesterday was a day of trial. Mr. *** 
preached at Morley, and then came here. He really 
grows in grace, and his word is attended with power. 
I wa- much pained in conversing with him to see the 
erief of mind occasioned by his attachment. O my God, 
indulge me in this ! Show me some way out of this 
embarrassment ! 

Saturday, 27. A solemn day to my soul. I was kept 
in peace while busy in domestic affairs. Home always 
agrees with my soul. It is seven weeks to-morrow since 
I have been constantly kept as the clay before the pot- 
ter : yet still how far below my privilege I live ! 

Sunday, September 26. I did not rise quite in so 
spiritual a frame as I wished. Lord, let me not lose 
o-round. I was blest in the meeting afterward ; — and in 
reading the Essay on Truth, in Mr. Fletcher's equal check, 
pao-e 162. Lord, give me to live in that constant act of 
faith ! It is the very marrow of the Gospel. How delight- 
fully it is distinguished from Antinomian presumption ! It 
has of a truth been food to my soul. In prayer this night 
I found power to lay open all my troubles before the 
Lord, and to take fast hold on that word, '■' Seek ye first 
the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these 
things shall be added unto you." I cannot tell how to 

n 



V2Z THE LIFE OF [PART m, 

express the power I felt in those words, All these things ! 
I saw Jesus had undertaken my whole cause. 

December. I feel my faith rather increased. I have 
this day been examining the state of my soul, as to the 
progress I have made this year, — and inquiring of the 
Lord why I do not grow much faster, and sink into a 
much deeper acquaintance with God. It appears to me 
that the reason is, I do not valiantly resist every thought 
that presents itself, but suifer my eyes to be turned off 
from my Saviour. — In particular, I lose much time in 
searching for ways out of my present trials. It seems 
often a duty to do so ; and my mind is carried away, till 
recalled by that word, " Thou canst not make one hair 
white or black." 

Februarv 1, 1775. I was much blest at the Wednes- 
day meeting. For some time these words have been 
with me, " Delight thyself in the Lord, and he will give 
thee the desire of thy heart." 

February 28. I fear my soul has lost ground this 
month. O what a narrow path do we tread ! How true 
also is that word, — Without me ye can do nothing ! In the 
beginning of this month I wrote that precious word, 
Delight thyself in the Lord ; but, alas ! instead of delight, I 
feel sorrow of heart ! A little time since I had a particu. 
lar trial with ****. What was proposed, seemed hard 
and unreasonable ; and I forgot the Christian motto, " Do 
good, and suffer ill." I got my eye turned off from Jesus, 
and then I no longer felt the love that never faileth. 
This deeply wounded me. At night I felt a drop oi 
healing balm, but my spirit remains to this day much 
discouraged. 

May. I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. My affairs 
are perplexing indeed ! Yet something seems to say, It 
is for an appointed time. But all this I should not regard, 
if my soul was always filled with love. I sometimes 
seem to get all obstacles removed, and then I reflect the 
image of my Saviour, and all is quiet, caim, and peace. 



PART HI-] 



MRS. FLETCHER. 123 



Floods of trial do not seem to more me. But though I 

. us taste of the pure river now and then, I do not abids 

™the faith, and therefore I do not abide in liberty. 

* May 28. This day I set apart for prayer, to inquire 

f the Lord, why I am so held in bondage about speaking 

in public. It cannot be expressed what I suffer,— it is 

known only to God what trials I go through in that 

spect. Lord, give me more humility, and then I shall 
^t care for any thing but Thee ! There are a variety 
of reasons why it is such a cross. The other day one 

I j me . « He was sure I must be an impudent woman , 

no modest woman, he was sure, could proceed thus." 
Ah • how glad would nature be to find out, — Thou Lord 
"lost not require it ! Mr. William Bramah observed to- 
day << The reason why your witness is not more clear, 
is because you do not glorify God by believing, and more 
freely declaring what he hath done for your soul." He 
spake much on these words, — " What things soever ye 
ask in prayer, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall 
have them." His words came with power, and my soul 
got a further hold on Jesus. I do see that by his death 
he hath purchased perfect salvation for all ti-Jio believe ; 
and that we receive it in proportion as we thus believe. 
« Be it unto you according to your faith," is the word oi 
the Lord. Then I will, I do cast my whole soul on thee ! 

let me find salvation as walls and bulwarks ! 
September 10, Sunday. I rose this morning with a 

sore weight on my mind. It was given out for me to 

jjg a t ]) . There was much wind and rain, and the 

roads were very bad. I feared the journey. I feared 
also I should have nothing to say when I came there ; — 

1 feared all manner of things. Those words, however, 
came to my mind, " Take no thought what ye shall say." 
1 then felt myself led to consider those words, " Repent ! 
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." I found some 
liberty in speaking from them, and the people were 
affected. As I was riding back, I clearly saw I was called 



124 THE LIFE OF L PART ^ 

to stand still ; to live the present moment, and always 
to praise the Lord that His will was done, though I might 
have much to suffer. I had a clear conviction, God 
brought me to Yorkshire, and that I had a message to 
this people : and that notwithstanding the darkness which 
hung over my situation, I was at present where God 
would have me. Well then, answered my heart, if I am 
but in His will I am safe ; for where the Lord leads me, 
there He will be my light. 

September 12, Tuesday. This day I am thirty-six 
vears old. I have been throughout the day kept in the 
spirit of prayer. Lord, I offer up myself, body and soul, 
to Thee ! It came to me, Thy captivity is long. Well, I 
will wait thy time, O Lord ! 

November 5, Sunday. Did not rise early, but was 
kept recollected. In the morning I was watchful as to 
words, but at noon I talked too long with A. T. That is 
an admirable rule of Mr. Wesley's, never to be more 
than an hour in the same company where it can be 
avoided. I also spoke some evil of M. M. by repeating 
what was not needful. O when shall I know what that 
meaneth, " He that offendeth not in word, the same is a 
perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." 

November 12, Sunday. Went to bed late last night, 
but in a degree recollected, though rather hurried with 
fear, lest I should lie too long in the morning. When I 
rose I found the weather was very severe. However I 
went to A — . The extreme cold almost took away my 
senses. Yet we had a comfortable meeting, and many 

people. 

January 5, 1776. I find it very hard to be recollected 
in private prayer. To-day I tried the following plan 
with some advantage. I placed my watch on the bed, 
that I might know when the hour was out. I first strove 
to consider myself as in the presence of God, — as before 
the throne worshipping with the heavenly host. Then 
I strove with recollection to repeat the Lord's prayer. 



PART III.] MRS « FLETCHER. 125 

giving each sentence full scope in my mind. In the 

wor ds Our Father, I felt a powerful remembrance of 

Him, " after whom the whole family in heaven and earth 
is named," and with delight I then repeated, Hallowed 
be thy name ! That sentence, Thy kingdom come, was 
much opened to my soul. I see that kingdom is the great 
promise of the Father, which Christ said he would send 
upon his children. That indeed is " the kingdom which 
suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." As 
I repeated, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven^ 

I felt 

" The will of God, my sure defence.'' 
Nor earth, nor hell, can pluck me thence." 

Give us this day our daily bread. Is He not our own 
Father ? Is He not engaged to provide for his babes ? 
Well then, thought I, freedom from debt is more to me 
than bread, and will he not preserve me from this ? It 
was then brought to my mind, " The Lord is my Shep- 
herd, I shall not want." In the next petition, Forgive 
me as I forgive. Oh ! what a cry did I feel for more 
love ! Lord, must 1 say, 

" That mercy I to others show, 
That mercy show to me ?" 

Ah no ! I will rather cry out, 

"Mercy, good Lord ! mercy I ask, 
It is the total sum ; 
For mercy, Lord, is all my plea, 
O let thy mercy come." 

II With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to 
you again !" O how would that cut me off from all hope, 
were it not for those words, — " The blood of Jesus 
cleanseth from all sin!" Lead us not into temptation. 
How hath this prayer been answered to me ! How would 
I have ran into ruin, but thou didst not suffer the tempta- 
tion to approach. Thou didst keep my powers as with 

II * 



126 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

bit and bridle, and conquered for me : and that when I 
did not strive, or even know my danger ! But deliver ws 
from evil. Lord, I am a desolate woman, who hath no 
helper hut thee. O keep me from evil of every kind ; 
" thoroughly purge away my dross, and take away all my 
tin." For all is thine for ever and ever. This I am 
assured of, when the soul turns inward to seek the Lord^ 
that moment he turns to it and smiles upon it ; and if it 
abides with Him, it will always grow. But as of a 
healthy child, one does not see it grow, and yet it doth ; . 
so the soul, surrounded by temptation, may not discover 
its orowth ; nevertheless the sun does not more freely 
give its light and warmth to the earth, than the beams of 
the immaterial Sun meets the seeking soul. 

January 21. I went to-day to see some sick, among 

whom was the mother of a young man, who about four 

years ago came to our Sunday night's meeting. It 

pleased the Lord to awaken him, and soon after he died 

happy. On his death bed, he entreated his mother and 

sister, that they would attend the meetings as he had 

done. Some time after, the eldest sister came to me for 

advice among the other patients. Conversing with her, 

I perceived she had some convictions, and invited her to 

meet with a few persons which I had collected. She did 

so, and seemed to drink in instruction as the parched 

ground the softening shower. After a few weeks she was 

set at liberty. She was now desirous her mother might 

share ha her felicity. She begged me to visit her, as she 

was too infirm to come out. Accordingly I went, but 

found her so ignorant, and so exceedingly weak as to her 

understanding, that it seemed almost impossible to do her 

any good. After some time, she appeared under some 

concern ; and her complaint then was to use her own 

words, " O that I could but get a smile from God i" Her 

convictions continued to increase, and she would cry, 

" O what shall I do ? Shall I never be saved ! O how 

easily did Betty come to it, while I cannot get one smile, 



PART HI.] MRS * F LETCHER ' 127 

ot one look from God ! The face of the Almighly is 
"h dark to me, as dark as darkness itself." The Lord 
■ v then pleased to lay her on a sick bed, in a very pain- 
fulVorder. Finding nothing gave her any relief, and 
believing she must die, she was in great distress, and said 
to her daughter, "My dear, my pain is greater than 1 
„,n hear ! I cannot live over this night. I pray thee go 

Mistress, and see if she can order me something. 

« 1 mother," said she, " I know not how to go, we have 

had so much in former illnesses. I fear it will seem as 

if , V e were imposing on her : let me go to the doctor 

a°-ain !" The old woman lying in great distress, at length 

cried out, " Thou wilt order me a medicine, Lord ! I can 

believe thou wilt. But shall I have no share in thy 

glory ?" Then, as she expressed it, " It went through 

mv mind with power, ' I will have mercy on thee ! I will 

receive thee at the eleventh hour !' O what did I then 

feel ! such comfort came over me, as I can never tell. 

I did not mind the pain, I believed it would be removed. 

But my soul ! O ! what a change did it feel ! Why, the 

dark face of God was all light ! I thought before, that he 

hated me for my sins ; but now I saw he loved me. Yes, 

I saw he had loved me all my life, and had been inviting 

me to come to him ; — but I did not understand. And 

now, O ! how I love him ! Yes, I love my God better 

than I ever loved my best bairn (child.) O it is a brave 

thing ! And what a change it makes ! Whj r , one is quite a 

new creature ! And it has made me see things quite 

different from what I did before. I used to chafe and 

fret, when any thing went wrong, and thought things 

were very hard ; but now I see nothing is hard, all is 

love ! So, I never do complain now."* 

• As it Wits in the days of the personal ministry of the Son of God, so 
it is in these His Spirit's Gospel days — " He hides those things from the wise 
and prudent, and revealeth them unto babes. — The weary and heavy-laden, 
n ho believe." Matthew xi. 25 — 30. How easy it is to forget this ! How 
hard to keep it in remembrance, and to allow it its due weight ! Did ever 
sny man. tina the days of St. Paul, more fully, or more constantly, appro- 



128 THE LIFE OF [PART HI. 

Her daughter came to me, and told me (as well as she- 
could,) how her mother was ; but her disorder was so 
peculiar, and so badly described, that I was on the point 
of saying, I cannot do any thing for her, when all at once 
a mixture came into my mind. I went and made it up. 
The first spoonful gave her ease ; and soon after quite 
removed the disorder. All I can say on this extraordi- 
nary case is, the Lord would have it so. The medicine 
was not an opiate, but in itself a very simple thing ; but 
when the Lord will bless, who shall stay his hand. — Thou 
art a God who hears and answers prayer ! 

January 30. Last night I met the classes at A . 

Much of the power of the Lord was present. But, Oh ! 
I am not what I would be, Lord ! How is it, I seem to 
get so slowly forward ? This morning I rose early, and 
found it good. Self-denial agrees well with my soul, but 
I use too little of it. 

February 4. Last Wednesday I had a remarkable pre- 
servation. Going to take my bark mixture, my mind being 
much taken up with what I had been writing, I took a bot- 
tle of laudanum, which through a strange providence was 
then not locked up, — a circumstance which seldom hap- 
pens. I took four tea spoonfuls and a half of it. As soon 
as I had swallowed it, I perceived what it was ; — and 
thought I must take a large dose of ipecacuanha. I look- 
ed for it, but could not find it, though it stood very near 
me. I knew my life depended on the present moment ; 

and thought, perhaps the Lord has appointed to take 

me this way. I found my mind calmly stayed on God, 
and those words came across it, " These signs shall fol- 
low those that believe : — if they drink any deadly thing 
it shall not hurt them." I went into Mrs. Crosby's room, 

date this than Mr. Wesley? It was the principle that governed and 
directed his whole life and labours ; and on which account he denominated 
the fruit of those labours—" The work of God." A work which HE 
began, supported, and prospered ; and in respect to which Mr. Wesley, 
notwithstanding his unparalleled activity, always considered himself as a 
mere passive instrument. Ed. 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 1 2,9 

and told them what had happened. Having medicines in 
the parlour, we went down to iook there for the ipeca- 
cuanha, but there was none. We returned to my room, 
and found it. I took about 30 grains. We then joined 
in prayer. For half an hour it had no effect. I thought 
it would then have no power, as the opiate must in that 
time have taken hold of the nerves of the stomach. 
But it soon after operated, and brought up (it seems,) 
both the laudanum and ipecacuanha. Fearing the whole 
had not come away, they gave me another dose ; but 
that had no effect at all. I felt however not the least 
inconvenience. In the night, I a little rambled, and was 
restless, but not ill. On the whole, it was a comfortable 
dispensation. I had been always tempted to think, if I 
should be called to face death in full health, I should 
shrink from it. But now that I fully believed it to be 
just before me, my soul did calmly wait on the Lord, 
though not with joy, yet with quiet peace ! 

Last night I dreamed, I was telling the Lord, He was 
the loadstone, and my soul the needle. That his will 
was the north pole, to which my heart should turn, how- 
ever tossed about. To-day Miss Ritchie came. I have 
had some profitable conversation with her. She is indeed 
a blessed soul ; and I feel more of the immediate pre- 
sence of God since that conversation. 

May 5. I had a meeting some days ago at B , 

where an odd circumstance occurred. I observed, (as I 
was speaking on these words, — The Master is come, and 
calleth for thee,) a gentleman among the congregation, 
who looked with great earnestness. As soon as the meet- 
ing was over, I rode home, where I had not long been, 
till this man came after me. He is a stranger, and came 
into these parts about business. He felt a great alarm 
in his soul ; and declared he had always before thought 
himself very righteous : — but he now feared he should 
go to hell ; and insisted on telling me his whole life, and 
confessing, fas he termed it,) all his sin«. He was verv 



130 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

long ; and I feared there was in his mind a mixture of 
insanity. He told me he was building a house for an 
assembly, but he would go home and turn it into a 
preaching-house, if I would come and speak in it, that 
his neighbours might get the light he had got. I strove 
to prevail on him to return to the friend's house from 
whence he came, and to set off the next morning for his 
own country, where he told me he had a good wife and 
family ; but he insisted he would not leave me till he 
had found the Lord ! At length he said he felt some 
comfort, and would go and spend most of the night in 
prayer. Next morning he was more calm ; and on my 
promising to answer him if he wrote to me, he went 
away. Satan made use of this occurrence to bring me 
into discouragement, respecting public speaking ; but 
some years after I heard a most pleasing account of this 
gentleman, — That he had indeed turned his assembly- 
house into a Methodist preaching-house, and that himself 
and family were joined to the society. 

June 11, Tuesday. Mrs. Westerman came here on 
the Thursday before Whitsunday, and staid ten days. 
She came in full expectation of a blessing ; — and in the 
Sunday night meeting, as I was in the last prayer, I felt 
it on my mind to plead with the Lord, that he would seal 
some soul as his abode that night. Just then the answer 
came. She felt the heart of stone taken away, and has 
ever since rejoiced with exceeding joy. Tuesday 

I went to B . When we came, we found the man at 

whose house we were to have been, died that morning. 
Another offered his barn, though with seeming fear ; — 
but when we came to the house, he either could not, or 
would not, find the key. So we stood in an open place, 
with some serious people from other parts, and some of 
the careless inhabitants. However all behaved well, and 
I found liberty in enforcing those words, " Acquaint now 
thyself with God, and be at peace, — hereby good shall 
come unto thee" 



FART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 131 

July 20. This day I found a good deal of liberty in 
prayer, especially in pleading, " If it be thy will I should 
be holy — if it be the great design of thy death, — O then 
let it all be answered on thy poor creature. Let all thy 
will be done !" It seems to me I fall short in every thing. 
I am continually making rules and plans, and yet I keep 
to none with any degree of exactness. Nevertheless, I 
see it well to make them ; — for though I never come up 
to what I propose, yet I always gain something : every 
fresh effort seems to put me a little forward. I have of 
late been reading Dr. Cheyne's works. I see self-denial 
very beautiful, and of profit both for soul and body. 

July 24. H. S. gave a good account of the work 

wrought on her soul. I think it is about three months 

ago I providentially met with her in a class which 1 went 

to meet about a mile from home. She appeared that 

night all ear, and quite awakened to the desire of loving 

God with all her heart. I felt much liberty in conversing 

with her, and asked her to come to the meeting, which 

she did the first opportunity, and seemed quite broke 

down ; — expressing herself in such a manner concerning 

her inbred sin, as plainly showed the Lord had plucked 

away every covering. While we were at prayer, she 

felt a degree of living faith ; and last night she gave the 

following account :— " After I left you I was very happy. 

I went to bed wondering at the great miracle Jesus had 

wrought in saving such a sinner. When I awoke in the 

morning, (O what a precious morning to me !) I had an 

impression as if my dear Lord stood just by me and said, 

' I will cause all my goodness to pass before thee.' I 

cried out, ' O it is thee, my Lord !' Then the words 

came to me, ' I have set thee as a signet upon mine arm. 

as a seal upon my heart. Thy sun shall no more go 

down. I will be thine everlasting light, and thy God, 

thy glory.' O what rapture did I feel, and so I do still ! 

He is all day long speaking so sweetly to me, and 1 have 

such views of his glorious love as I cannot express ! O 



132 THE LIEE OF [PART lii. 

never sure did the Lord do such a miracle ! For I do 
believe there never was such a vile polluted creature as 
I have been !"* 

August 30. Yesterday it was given out for me to be 

at . For a whole month it lay on my mind. None. 

O my God, but thyself, knows what I go through for every 
public meeting ! I am often quite ill with the prospect. 
When the day came, the wind was violent, which is a 
thing I have a great fear of, because it so affects my 
head ; for after riding several miles in it, I am scarcely 
in my senses. And I suppose it is worse to me, not hav- 
ing been used to ride on horse-back till I came into 
Yorkshire. A little before I set out, I said, " O Lord, 
thou canst still the wind ; — but Thy zaill be done." When 
we had got about a hundred yards from the house, the 
wind fell, and we had no more trouble from it all the way. 
My bearing was much affected at this time, so that I fear- 
ed I should not be able to converse with any person; 
But before I got to the place, my hearing was as good as 
ever it was in my life, — and 1 was not at all fatigued I 
There were mnny persons got together ; and after spend- 
in°- about two hours with them, the time for the meeting 
drew on. We went to a barn prepared for that purpose 
by the kind friend who had invited us. There was a good' 
congregation ; and I found some enlargement in speaking 
on those words, which came then to my mind, " Hath 
the Lord as much delight in sacrifices and burnt-offerings 
as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey 
is better than to sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of 
rams." As I was speaking on the word Hearken, I felt 
the Lord peculiarly present. The people would fain 
have had me stay all night; but for some reasons I 
thought it better to return ; — which we immediately did. 
and reached home a little before eleven. 

* There are tea thousand happy believers that would dispute that 
>>oint witft-her. Ed. 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 133 

September 7, Tuesday. Glory be to God ! this has 
been a comfortable day. My soul is in sweet expecta- 
tion that I shall be filled with the Spirit : and that i shall 
vet see the time, when by my whole life I shall bring 
dory to God. I feel power to abandon my whole cause 
into His hand. O Lord, thou hast undertaken for me, I 
feel thou hast ; I feel also great resignation as to the life 
or death of Thy dear servant. O keep him, Lord, as 
the apple of thine eye. I believe Thou wilt order all right ; 
and I shall regard him with an immortal friendship, that 
will be free from snares, and all divine. But it is strange, 
when I am offering him up, the words come, " The. 
praver of faith shall heal the sick, and the Lord shall 
raise him up." I do not understand, but I stand still. 

September 14. Yesterday I was a good deal oppressed. 
I had undertaken to meet the old members of our society 
apart, and to propose to them a renewal of our covenant ; 

to set our hearts and hands afresh to the work of God, 

Glory be to his name, I was carried better through it 
than I could have hoped for. Some little touches of 
enthusiasm were beginning to creep in among us, which 
I thought the more dangerous as the meeting now grows 
very numerous, members being added from all sides. 
Yet was it a great trial to me to have to reprove them, — 
1. Because many are much farther advanced in grace 
than I am. 2. I was deeply conscious it is one of the 
most delicate subjects in the world, and requires both 
much wisdom and much love, to extinguish false fire, 
and yet to keep up the true. All the day I kept plead- 
ing before the Lord, mostly in these words of Solomon — 
" Ah! Lord, how shall I, who am but a child, go in and 
out before this thy chosen people ?" 

September 17, Tuesday. Glory be to thee, my faith- 
ful Lord ! O that I could always trust ! Then I should 
always praise ! Last Sabbath morning I went, according 
to appointment, to Goker. I arose early, and in pretty 
good health. The day was fine, though rather hot. About 

12 



134 THE LIFE OF [PART Uh 

eleven we came to Huddersfield, and called on Mrs. H, 
She had asked me to lodge there on my return, and have 
a meeting, saying, many had long desired it, and there 
would be no preacher there on that day. I felt immedi- 
ately the people laid on my mind, and that I had a mes- 
sage to that place, — and said, if the Lord permit, I will. 
She then said, " We will give it out at noon." We rode 
forward. Benjamin Cock met us, and kindly conducted 
us over the moors. When we came to his hut, all was 
clean, and victuals enough provided for twenty men! 
But I was so heated with the ride, (near twenty miles,) 
and with the great fire on which they so liberally cooked 
for us, that I could not eat. My drinking nothing but 
water seemed also quite to distress them. They said 
the meeting had been given out in many places, and they 
believed we should have between two and three thousand 
people. — That I did not believe ; — but there was indeed 
such a number, — and of such a rabble as I scarce ever 
saw. At one we went out to the rocks, — a place so wild 
that I cannot describe it. The crowd which got round 
us was so great, that by striving which should get first to 
the quarry, (where we were to meet,) they rolled down 
great stones among the people below us, so that we feared 
mischief would be done. Blessed be God, none were 
hurt ! I passed on among them on the top of the hill, 
not knowing whither I went. Twice I was pushed down 
by the crowd, but rose without being trampled on. We 
stopped on the edge of a spacious quarry filled with peo- 
ple, who were tolerably quiet. I gave out that hymn, 
The Lord my pasture shall prepare, fyc When they were 
a little, settled, I found some liberty in speaking to them, 
and I believe most heard. As we returned into the house, 
numbers followed and filled it so full we could not stir. 
I conversed with them, but could not get much answer. 
They stood like people in amaze, and seemed as if they 
could never have enough. Many wept and said, <■' When 
will you come again ?" We then set off for Hudders- 



TART III.] MRS ' LETCHER. 135 

r u I felt very much fatigued, and began to think 
i !!' shall I be able to fulfil my word there ? As we rode 
along, brother Taylor said, « I think I ought to -tell [you 
v Si n d.-I wish we could ride through Huddersheld, 
and not stop. For I know there are some there, who do 
not like wornen to speak among them, and fear you will 
°eet with something disagreeable." I looked to the 
Lord, and received, as it seemed to me, the foHowmg 
direction— If I have a word to speak from Him, He will 
make mv way. If not, the door will be shut. I am only 
to show the meekness of wisdom, and leave all to God, 
Those words then came with power to my mind, 

«• The Lord my pasture shall prepare, 

And feed me with a shepherd's care ; 

His presence shall my wants supply, 

And guard me with a watchful eye : 
My noonday walks he shall attend, 
And all my midnight hours defend." 

When we got to Huddersfield, I told them the con- 
versation we had had by the way, and the posture of my 
mind ; which was calm as the limpid stream, and quiet 
as an infant. I perceived his fears were not groundless, 
and said, " Well, my friends, I will do as you will, either 
-tiv with vou this night, or go forward directly, for I fol- 
low a lamb-like Lord, and I would imitate his life and 
spirit.' 1 They said, they believed but few of the princi- 
pal persons had any objection ; and the people much 
desired it ; — besides, as it had been given out at noon, 
there would be a great many strangers whom it would 
not be well to disappoint. It was then agreed that we 
should have the meeting in the house, where they 
usually had the preaching ; but when we came there, the 
crowd was very great, and the place so hot, that I feared 
i should not be able to speak at all. I stood still, and 
left all to God. A friend gave out a hymn ; during which 
some fainted away. Brother Taylor said, " I perceive 
it is impossible for us to stay within doors, the people can- 



3 36 THE LIFE OF [PART m. 

not bear the heat, and there are more without than 
are within." We then came out. My head swam with 
the heat ; I scarce knew which way I went, but seemed 
carried along by the people, till we stopped at a horse- 
block, placed against a wall on the side of the street with 
a plain wide opening before it. On the steps of this I 
stood, and gave out, " Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, 
&c." While the people were singing the hymn, I felt a 
renewed conviction to speak in thv. name of the Lord. 
My bodily strength seemed to retui a each moment. — I 
felt no weariness, and my voice was stronger than in the 
morning, while I. was led to enlarge on these words, 
" The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the 
Lord is our King, He will save us." I felt great enlarge- 
ment while endeavouring to show the purity of our Judge, 
whose eyes could endure no iniquity. That as a Law- 
giver he was just and holy, and the thing gone out of his 
lips must stand : — The soul that sinneth shall die. But the 
Lord is also our King, and he will save us. First, By 
convincing us of the purity of His law, and the justness 
of our punishment, who have broken it. Secondly, By 
making us tremble before that Judge, whose eyes are as 
a flame of fire. Thirdly, By leading us to Him, who is 
our " Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righ- 
teous," — who now manifests himself to the soul, as the 
propitiation for our sins. — And, Fourthly, As a King he 
goes on in the believer conquering and to conquer, — till 
the eternal reign of Jesus commences in the soul ; which 
as the " morning light grows brighter and brighter unto 
the perfect day ;" — till " the perfect love which casts out 
all fear," marks the soul as the abode and " habitation of 
God through the Spirit." Deep solemnity sat on every 
face. I think there was scarce a cough to be heard, or 
the least motion ; though the number gathered was very 
great. So solemn a time I have seldom known ; my voice 
was clear enough to reach them all ; and when we con- 
cluded 1 felt stronger than when we began, 



PART III-] MRS ' FLETCHER. 13? 

They then desired me to speak to each of the womeu 
joined in the society, which took me till near ten. Th*> 
room we went into for that purpose, was a damp stone 
floor, so that I could hardly move my legs when I came 
out. ' But they kindled a fire, and after getting some re- 
freshment, I grew better. About twelve I went to bed, 
and rested under the shadow of the Almighty till morning, 
ff hen I found myself remarkably well. After having 
breakfasted with brother Goldthorp, where we had a 
lively conversation concerning holiness, I came home with 
much thankfulness and peace. 

October 8. I was to-day at Clackhigh-town and saw 
the hand of the Lord in many things. I have been more 
abundantly led to reflect on the difficulties of the path I 
am called in. I know the power of God which I felt 
when standing on the horse-block in the street at Hud- 
dersfield : but at the same time I am conscious how ridicu- 
lous I must appear in the eyes of many for so doing. 
Therefore, if some persons consider me as an impudent 
woman, and represent me as such, I cannot blame them. 
Again, many say, If you are called to preach, why do you 
not do it constantly, and take a round as a preacher ? I 
answer, Because that is not my call. I have many duties 
to attend to, and many cares which they know nothing 
about. I must therefore leave myself to His guidance 
who hath the sole right of disposing of me. Again they 
say, " Why do you not give out, I am to preach ? Why 
call it a meeting ?" I answer, Because that suits my 
design best. First, It is less ostentatious. Secondly, It 
leaves me at liberty to speak more or less as I feel my- 
self led. Thirdly, It gives le>s offence to those who 
watch for it. Others object, " Why, yours is a Quaker 
call ; why then do you not join them at once ? You are 
an offence to us. Go to the people whose call is the same 
as your own ; here nobody can bear with you," I 
an«iver, Though I believe the Quakers have still a good 

deal of God among them, yet, I think the Spirit of the 

10 # 



138 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

Lord is more at work imong the Methodists ; and while 
I see this, thouga they were to toss me about as a foot- 
ball, I would stick to them like a leech. Besides, I do 
nothing but what Mr. Wesley approves ; and as to 
reproach thrown by some on me, what have I to do with 
it, but quietly go forward, saying, / will be still more vile, 
if my Lord requires it ? Indeed for none but thee, my 
Lord, would I take up this sore cross. But Thou hast done 
more for me. O do thy own will upon me in all things ! 
Only make me what thou wouldst have me to be ? Only 
make me holy, and then lead me as thou wilt ! 

August, 1777. I heard Mr. Wesley preach from 
these words, " Dearly beloved, as strangers and pilgrims, 
abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul." A 
sweet discourse it was, showing the great danger of every 
earthly gratification. This lesson, he said, might be 
learned even from the body. As often as we take down 
food, we swallow so many seeds of death, by causing so 
many more particles of earth to adhere to, and clog our 
vessels, and so hasten our dissolution. And without 
great watchfulness so it would be with our souls. If we 
were not on our guard, human comforts received would 
also bring the soul nearer to death, instead of being a 
step to life. It is truly said of worldly joy, " It does with 
powerful charm hold down the mind, and sensualize the 
soul." 

Sunday noon. I heard him on these words, " If thou 
canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' 1 
His strength was wonderful, and much power attended 
the word. — Lord, be the strength of thy dear servant, 
and his portion for ever ! At night he lodged with us. i 

August 14. Last night dear Mr. Wesley came here 
again. After supper he read a letter from Lady Maxwell, 
in which she expresses a most sweet state of soul : ob- 
serving, that if the name of Jesus is but mentioned, her 
heatt is like the key of a well-tuned instrument, when 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 139 

its unison is touched. O how sweet a progress has she 
made ! Lord, let me do so likewise ! 

Last Thursday Mr. Wesley preached at Daw-green, 
on, "I will give to every one of you according to your 
works." First, he considered What were the works. 
Secondly, What the reward. The works, he said, were 
threefold. First, What the man is. Secondly, What he 
does. Thirdly, What he suffers. 1. All he is, that is 
right, shall have its reward ; — All " the fruit of the Spirit 
. — love, joy, peace ; long-suffering, meekness, patience, 
faith, self-denial, fortitude :" — all these are the work of 
God, and all received through Christ — above all, love, 
which is the image of God. 2. All he does, all his works 
of piety and mercy, all that is wrought in faith. Nay, 
the most common labours of his daily business, if done in 
a spirit of sacrifice, shall not be forgotten ; for it is said 
of servants, by the Apostle, for their encouragement, that 
when they " obey and serve men, with singleness of 
heart, they serve the Lord Jesus Christ." 3. All he suf- 
fers. Not one cross taken up in obedience to the will of 
God, but it shall have its reward. — But what is the 
reward ? First, The very nature of each grace necessa- 
rily brings its reward. The more faith, patience, cou- 
rage, and perseverance, the more holiness will be brought 
into the soul, and consequently, the soul will be ren- 
dered more like God, and more capable of fellowship 
•xith Him : and in proportion to our fellowship with 
God, must be our happiness. But besides these, there 
is a reward of infinite free mercy (over and above what 
flows from inherent holiness) bestowed on each grace, 
and on each action done for God, and each cross borne 
for his sake. 

I felt it come with power to my soul. O for a full 
devotedness to thee, my God ! I see I am quietly to wait 
on thee, though my crosses are very heavy in many way& 
But the will oftiie Lord be done ! 



140 THE LIFE OF [PART HI. 

September 12. This day 38 years I was born.— 
Solemn thought ! O how far have I spent these thirty - 
ei<rht years for God ? What is my situation, outward 
and inward ? Outward, it is very trying ;— my circum- 
stances are very perplexing. — But I hold fast my 
former promises. " Christ charges himself with all thy 
temporal affairs — While you charge yourself with those 
that relate to his glory. I am determined to make Zion 
my chief care, though 1 know not what the Lord is about 
to do with me. I have a great family, and not an income 
left sufficient to keep them, which obliges me to sink 
something every year. The business hurts instead of 
helping ; and though Mr. *** is sure it will the next 
year do far otherwise, I cannot believe it. It appears 
to me, deliverance will begin by bringing me out of this 
place, dividing the family, and contracting my wide- 
spread cares into one, viz. the cause of God only. But 
how this will be brought about I know not ; — for though 
I keep putting out the children as fast as they grow up, 
yet that is attended with much expense, and I have many 
grown persons whom I know not how to provide for, nor 
find any way to dispose of. They are good sincere souls, 
and they live to God. Some of them also are very weak 
in body, and advanced in years. When I have settled 
all the accounts, I am led to believe, it will be the order 
of God for me to go down to Bath and Bristol for six 
months. — Nine months ago I got a fall, which hath made 
me in a degree lame ever since. Bath may help that ; 

but I believe I have something to do for souls in those 

places, and I shall be glad to be at a distance from poor 
Mr. ***. O how sad it is ! I fear while he helps me, 
I hurt him. Lord ! what a situation is mine ! 

But how is it with me inwardly ? On the whole I have 
found my mind more stayed on God this last year, and 
my confidence in his loving protection is a good deal 
increased. That sore temptation of fear, by which I 
have suffered so much in going out in the work of God, 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 141 

1 have found a good deal removed by prayer. 1 have 
had freedom and some success in dealing with souls. But 
I am not all athirst for full salvation. I do not feel that 
ardent desire after it, which swallows up every other 
care and desire. I have yet some prospects on earth, 
which I cannot fully look over. They present them- 
selves before me, and I do not feel,— deeply feel, the 
force of these words—" It is far better to depart, and 
be with Christ." Again, many cares divide my soul. 
I know not if ever I shall get this place sold ; or ever 
pay my debts. Every thing sinks me deeper in that 
respect. It is amazing what losses and trials I have ! 
Yet I feel my anchor cast in the will of God. I fear, 
however, that I have departed from his close embrace, 
and therefore He hath encompassed my way with thorns. 
—Well, I will, I do embrace his justice, as well as his 
mercy ! Both " his rod and his staff shall comfort me !" 

It is an easy matter to believe when all goes smoothly 
about us. But now is the time for my faith to have its 
full exercise. Nothing but ruin in temporal things seems 
before me, and I am upbraided by many as being a fool. 
They say, " Why does not she turn them all out of 
doors ?" Nay, some who should know better, cast the 
same in my teeth ! Yet with all my endeavours I see no 
way out. — To turn them out of doors ! — I have no light 
for that. Still I seem called to believe, God will make a 
way for each, and remove them in his own time and man- 
ner. Still I trust that I shall see accomplished those words, 
so powerfully applied at Lay ton-stone, — " Thou shaltlay 
up gold as the dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones 
of the brook ; yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, 
and thou shalt have plenty of silver." What I understand 
by these words is, that a time shall come when 1 shall 
owe no one any thing, and have plenty to carry on such 
designs as the Lord shall lay on my heart for his glory. 
That he will bring me out of this place, and provide 
some way for every member to be removed, so that I 



142 THE LIFE OP [PART HI. 

shall say,— Now is fulfilled that word, " Thou shalt de- 
cree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee, and 
%ht shall shine on thy path." But here is the difficulty, 
how absurd does it appear to go on with a great house- 
hold, running me out on every side ! How ridiculous 
will distress so brought on make me appear in the eyes 
of all ! That thought has made me strive and struggle 
every way to throw it off, but it seems the Lord always 
frustrates my endeavours, and I am forced to sit down at 
his foot-stool again, with that thought, " My time is in 
His hand, and He knows how to deliver." It is hard to 
believe against seeming impossibilities. Yet it comes to 
my mind, God does bless me in believing spiritual things 
that are above my powers ; but these are only temporal. 
Will he bless that exercise of faith ? It is certain Abra- 
ham's faith was tried in temporal things, — and through 
the temporal difficulties, he held fast faith in the spiritual. 
•—Israel was called into a temporal Canaan, prefiguring 
the spiritual ; — and I cannot divide two ideas which con- 
tinually seem to dwell together in my mind, viz. — That 
I shall be delivered from all my spiritual enemies, and 
brought into a most perfect liberty of soul, as soon as I 
am delivered from the temporal ; and that I shall first 
praise the Lord for the fulfilment of the above promises, 
and then for full salvation ! 

October 28. '" 'lory be to God, he is yet working 
among us ! Last week Sally Lawrence was set at liberty, 
and the change is very evident. Yesterday as I was 
meeting her, she said, " O ! had I known what the love 
of God was, sure 1 should never have rested so long 
without it ! I have often found great joy, but there was 
always a sting in the end. Some thought or other would 
come and take away the pleasure ; but now I find a plea- 
sure in God without any sting. Last week I felt a change, 
and many promises ; but I had not a clear evidence. Yet 
I thought, I do feel in many things as 1 never did before. 
However, as you were saying in the class last Tuesday,— 



PART III] MRS. FLETCHER. I4£ 

that we ought to rejoice evermore, and the way so to do, 
was to praise the Lord for what he had done ; I thought, 
then I will try to do so. Accordingly I spoke more freely 
than I should otherwise have done, and while I spoke, 
I found more power to believe. — But on Friday, while 
you were meeting the children, I found my evidence 
quite clear. — These words were applied to my mind, 
' There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ 
Jesus.' And since that time- I have been very happy. 
I never knew such a week as this in all my life. I used 
to be tired, and 1 hated the washing week ; — but I have 
now been kept in entire peace all through." 

Bath, February, 1778. On the 8th of December last. 
I set out for this place, and came here on the 12th. Much 
have I seen of the hand of my God here in many ways, 
goon after my arrival, Mr. We-ley came to lay the first 
stone of the chapel. He preached from these words : 
" From this time it shall be said, — What hath God 
wrought !" He pointed out to us in what a wonderful 
manner the Lord had carried on his work in the three 
kingdoms, within these last thirty or forty years. It was 
a solemn time. — The people were very attentive, though 
the cold was very severe. At night we had a love-feast. 

1 was led to speak with some degree of freedom. As 

I came out, several asked me where I lodged. I told 
them I should (with the Lord's help^ ^>e at home at such 
an hour every day. Several came to me, one after 
another, and the Lord's hand hath been with us of a truth. 
What amazing answers to prayer have I seen ! Lord, 
give me to endure to the end ! In the classes and bands 
also, I find muoh freedom in speaking for God ; and He 
gives me to cast all my own burden on Himself, and to 
believe, Christ charges himself with all my concerns, 
while He in some low degree, gives me to charge myself 
with those that relate to his glory. — Here are many souls 
who seem to thirst for spiritual conversation, as the 



144 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

traveller for the cooling stream ; and whenever we are 
together, our Lord is in the midst. 

March. Conversing with a gentleman who knew some- 
thing of my situation, he said, " If I had had such losses 
as you have had, and was in such an encumbered situa- 
tion, I should stamp and tear and go raving mad." — I 
began to reflect on his words, and thought how is it that 
I am kept so calm ? I saw and adored the hand of my 
God, and was constrained to cry out, — " Lord, thou hast 
known my soul in adversity !" This is thy doing, and I 
will praise thee. 

April 4. When I was in this city fourteen years ago, 
the Lord was pleased to give me some souls. I wondered 
Often what was become of them ; but glory be to God! 
I find them is simple and steady as ever ; — and some 
are much advanced. I asked of the Lord at my first 
coming at this time. — That some soul might be particu- 
larly blest, that 1 might be encouraged to think that I was 
come in His name. A few days after we came, the an- 
swer was given. Brother Cousins was restored to the 
love of God. But this vas only the beginning of good 
things. Each day opened the providence of God more 
and more. — Several persons got good, and I saw my call 
quite clear. One old disciple gave me much pleasure. 
She had long been a follower, and useful to others. The 
first time I saw her, she laid open her whole heart, and 
was simple as a little child. I scarce ever found so much 
of the power of God in conversing with any one as with 
her. Before we parted the Lord gave her a taste of 
the liberty she came to inquire after. — She sent others, 
— among whom was one young woman, an upright soul, 
but who had got into sore temptation, and lost her peace. 
The healer of the breaches again appeared, and she was 
filled with consolation, and found (as she afterward told 
me,) she was a new creature. A man and his wife, the 
next day called on me - r they had a measure of life, but 



I'ART HI.] M RS « FLETCHER. J4«> 

they were come, (as they said,) to inquire when, and 
how. " the blood of Jesus would cleanse them from all 
sin." Such simplicity I hardly ever met with before. 
My heart was ready to melt with desire. I found such 
access in addressing the throne of grace as I cannot 
express. — It was all, " ask and have !" I did ask, and 
glory be to God, he granted my petition, and brought the 
dear souls into further light and liberty ! 

April 24. I am now at Bristol. Lord ! what shall I 
meet with here ? O let me be ever observant of Thy 

will- 

May. I wrote and sent to my Wednesday night's 
meeting, (consisting of about fifty persons who meet at 
Cross-hall,) the following letter. — 

" Though various occupations in my Master's work 
hath rendered my pen for a longer time silent than I at 
first intended, I can assure you, with a pleasing sincerity, 
my heart has often been warmed when pleading before 
the throne in your behalf. Very dear are all the follow- 
ers of the Lord to me in every place ; — but my little 
company on Wednesday nights will ever hold a peculiar 
place in my heart. I also include the spreading branch 
in Wakefield. May lively grace rest on you all !— and 
may you ever adorn your profession as a company of the 
choicest followers of the bleeding Lamb ! Many here 
inquire, " How goes on your Wednesday night's meet- 
ing ?•' There is a general belief of great life in York- 
shire. In this your fame is gone out into other churches. 
how alarming the thought ! " What manner of persona 
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ! A 
city set on a hill cannot be hid." Either a ray of light, 
or "a shade of darkness will reflect from every professor. 
Adorable Jesus, fill us with that jealous just concern, that 
our light may never become darkness ! In order to pre- 
vent this, let the most strict and ardent watchfulness keep 
your eye and heart for ever fixed on " the Lamb who 
taketh away .jour sins !" For it is by those believing 

13 



140 THE LIFE OF [PART IIL 

views that all the streams of consolation, wherewith our 
souls are replenished and refreshed, are given. I would 
have you praise the Lord for me, and therefore I tell 
you, I have, and do prove him to be a God of faithfulness 

and truth. 

" The account of a Jewess in this city may perhaps 
help your strains of praise to rise a little higher. I will 
therefore give it you in the best manner my memory 
will afford. 

" She was born in Germany. Her father was a famous 
Jew Rabbi. He gave her a good education, and brought 
her up very strictly according to the laws ef the Jews. 
When she was about eighteen, she found a strong incli- 
nation to come to England. This her parents much 
opposed, as they could well provide for her, and could 
see no reason why she should leave her native country. 
But she had no rest in her spirit while in Germany; 
«o at last they gave consent, that she should visit their 
own people in England. They gave her a handsome 
sum of money, and sent her off with their blessing, in 
company with some friends. She continued to live 
some time in England, till at length she was cheated 
out of the greatest part of her money. She was then 
reduced to many hardships, and after a time went as a 
servant into a Jew's family. Her mistress liked her 
greatly, and used her as one of her own children. 
Here she thought her lot was cast in a fair portion, for 
she loved her mistress, and rejoiced to do her service. 
But after a short time a great change took place. Her 
mistress was awakened to a sense of the things of God, 
and in the end found " there was no name under heaven 
whereby she could be saved, but the name of Jesus 
Christ." This grieved the young woman beyond expres- 
sion. She now hated her mistress as much as before 
she had loved her ; and very often her behaviour cor- 
responded with the feelings of her heart. The arrows 
of conviction however now began to fasten on bei 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 147 

also ; and oft she reasoned with herself, saying,— What a 
difference there is between my mistress and me ! If I 
had such a servant, I would turn her off at once. Bui 
my mistress seems all love since she believed in Jesus 
Christ as her Messiah ; but I am all hatred. Besides, 
she is happy, always happy, while I am always miserable. 
Then again she would start at the thought, and say,— 
What ! am I going to leave the true religion ? O no ! I 
will never believe in Christ. I will pray to the true 
Messiah. Then she would go up to the top of the 
house, and (as she thought,) looking towards Jerusalem, 
would cry, ' O Lord Jehovah, hear me ! Thou hast done 
great wonders for our people, and for our nation ; and 
when we were in the hands of our enemies, thou didst 
send deliverance for thy chosen people Israel. O hear 
roe ! thou God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and send 
tis our Messiah, that He may take away our misery ! 
Then ' shall kings be our nursing fathers, and queens 
our nursing mothers,' and we shall be restored again 
to our former privileges !' It would then come to her 
mind, Jesus Christ, whom you despise, is the very and 
true Messiah ! But that thought she thrust away with 

fear. 

" One night she went to bed in great distress, and 
dreamed she was walking on a common, and that a man 
came up to her whom she knew to be Jesus Christ. 
She looked on him, and between hope and fear, said, 
« Tell me, are you my Messiah ?" He answered, " I am 
your Messiah." Yet she drew back, and was afraid to 
believe. In the morning she knew not what to think.— 
Wherever she went she seemed always to see Christ n~ 
hanging on the cross ! And in her own soul, felt so 
deeply the sentence of death, that she seemed to have 
no hope of salvation. At last, she told the Lord one 
day, she could almost believe, and if He would givfl 
some sign, she thought she should hold out no longer. 



148 THE LIFE OP [PART ML 

The sign which God gave to Israel, through Samuel's 
prayer, came strongly to her mind, as she waited before 
the Lord— her soul then struggling between faith and 
unbelief. It was at that time rather cold weather ; but 
the Lord was pleased, before the close of the day, to 
send a storm of thunder and lightning, which terrified 
her beyond expression ! While she was on her knees, 
expecting ever}- moment to drop into hell, (which she 
now clearly felt she deserved,) she cried to the God of 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to hear, and save her ! God 
did hear. Glory be to His free mercy, He made her to 
feel, " None but Jesus could do helpless sinners good !" 
In the same moment she felt his blood applied, and 
shouted aloud the praises of her Messiah ! 

" From this time she continued happy in the love of 
God. She then became sensible of the stirrings of 
inbred sin, from which she had no thought of ever being 
delivered till she should lay down the body. I found 
much blessing in conversing with her ; and after the 
tirst time, she was much stirred up to seek a further 
salvation. For some weeks she was tossed between 
hope and fear. — One day as I was meeting brother Sims'* 
class, she seemed uncommonly oppressed with unbelief 
yet she pleaded, ' O t can it be possible that I should be 
wholly delivered from anger, and live in a place where 
1 have ten children to look after ?' I recommended her 
to look to Jesus, who could and would ' save her to the 
uttermost.' Several of us walked home together. As 
she was praying inwardly, and meditating on the all-suflfe 
ciency of the Saviour, Sister Tripp said, ' God kept 
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the lire, and why 
not you ?' She answered nothing, but pondered the 
words in her heart. When she got home, she began to 
consider, He really did keep the three children in the 
furnace ! — And he can keep me from anger. As she 
strove to believe, her faith grew stronger and stronger. 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 149 

till she could cast the full weight of her soul on Jesus, 
us her uttermost Redeemer. O my friends, praise the 
Lord !" 

Cross-'hall, September 12. This day I am 39 years 
of age. O that I might live to Thee more than ever! 
What have I either done or suffered for Thee, in this 
last year? As to the state of my soul, I trust I am 
nearer to God than before I went my journey. — But I 
am still a dull scholar in thy school. I want that full 
baptism of the Spirit : God's promise to all believers. 
Mr. *** is very kind and helpful to me in the care of 
my temporal affairs ; but what my trials are, none but 
God knows. To-day I was blest in praying for him, 
with that word, — "I will bless them that bless thee I" 
Amen ! Amen ! 

Sunday, November 15. This day I found a blessing 
in putting in practice some resolutions I had formed for 
my daily walk. At seven we set out for Daw-green, 
wnere we had a good meeting. O what a desire did I 
feel for that people, while I was speaking on that word, 
<•' The Lord thy God is a jealous God !" 

March 26, 1779. This day I set apart as a fast, to 
lay before the Lord the following particulars: 1. My 
present situation. 2. To ask for wisdom how to walk 
before my family. 3. For more of His love. 4. Fof 

a blessing on my journey to . 5. For my relations 

On the whole it has been a good day. As to the first 
petition, my present situation, I found much power and 
liberty in believing God would undertake and appoint 
me some deliverance ; yea, entire deliverance, in his 
own time, and in his own way ; and 1 had more f iith 5 
I think, than ever before : yet, it was mixed with sweet 
resignation. 2. How to walk with wisdom before 
my family. — I felt a great pleading for this, and some 
encouragement, that I should yet " adorn the Gospel.' 5 
The third, For more love. — I felt freedom in asking, it 

13 * 



i^O THE LIFE OP [ PAR T Hi. 

The fourth, For a blessing on the few days I am to spend 

at . I feel much of the cross in this adventure ; 

yet, I think I must do it, and God will be with me. 

As to the fifth, I could find no particular opening, only 

a willingness to do, be, or suffer any thing for their good. 

Perhaps the time is not yet come. The third time I 

went to prayer, all seemed swallowed up in that petition ; 

Lord, give me " the love that never faileth." 

Wednesday in Passion week. I have this day offered 

myself up afresh to the Lord, as a whole burnt-sacrifice. 

O give me that situation, those friends, those comforts, 

or crosses, which will best stand with thy own glory 1 
"Tis all I ask, — 'tis all my choice. 
May 21. Lord, my thirsty soul crieth after thee, I long 

for a fuller deliverance. Last night 1 met the old members 
of the W Band, and a sweet time we had ; the Lord was 

very gracious in helping his unworthy worm, and gave 
me, I believe, to speak to his glory. Since I returned 

from my journey to , I have been much drawn out 

in praise. O how good was the Lord ! He made hard 
things easy, and was better to me than either my fears or 
wishes. To-day when at prayer, I had a sight of the 
necessity of contemplation, I mean, of labouring to keep 
the mind on spiritual things, and to consider and weigh 
the word of God, His love, His fulness ! " Love without 
end, and without measure, grace !" 

August, 1780. O Lord, how peculiar are thy ways 
towards me ? What wouldst Thou have me to do ? Here 
I am ; command what thou wilt. Bring me to a state of 
poverty, reproach, a work-house, or what thou wilt, only 
let me not mistake my way. It is true I have more than 
I owe, and as yet an income for life, enough for myself. 
But I cannot support these expenses and losses. And 
yet it seems I cannot get deliverance from them ! Every 
answer to prayer is only, " Stand still and see my salva- 
tion." Lord, I am ready to do so ; but all cry out, " It 
i8 madness not to do something." And yet, Tbon 



PART III.] MRS> FLETCHER. L&\ 

seemest to frustrate all I attempt. I strive to save in 
every thing, and many ways I have tried to do so ; but 
unless all did the same, it makes little difference. When 
I attempt new things of the kind, various difficulties 
arise ; and some are apt to say, " Save in something else ; 
vou do not run out in this !" 

The other day, a friend said, he was desired to ask me, 
" If I did not do wrong in spending so much time on the 
sick poor ? In making medicines, clothes, Lc. '?" And 
**** said, " It is a poor way of spending your time thus, 
for the bodies of the people. If that is your call, it is a 
mean call!" I have pondered the thought ; and having 
set apart a day for fasting and prayer, the result of my 
most serious reflections were as follows : — • 

What was my setting out, or first light ? Why, from 
seven years old, (the first time I felt a spark of faith,) my 
conviction was, — not to be conformed to the customs^ 
fashions, and maxims of the world, and my frequent 
prayer was, as a little manuscript now by me proves., 
Lord, bring me out from among the ungodly ! Cast my 
lot with the poor zvho are rich in faith ; and make me to 
have my delight with the excellent of the earth. And thea 
I will not complain for toil, poverty, or reproach. 

When I was seventeen, my desires after holiness began 
to deepen, and I found a particular call to a further dedi- 
cation of my soul to God, in those words of St. Paul to 
Timothy, descriptive of the character of those women, 
who in the primitive churches were chosen as deacon- 
esses, " If she have lodged strangers, if she have brought 
up, children, if she have washed the saints' feet, and 
diligently followed after every good work."— When I 
was twenty-one, being brought to the choice of my own 
manner of life, I was enabled in a degree to follow the 
plans thus formerly laid down. 

As to my present way of life, of which a visiter had 
said a few days ago, « I think, madam, your call is a 
strange one j— to the care of cows and horses, sheep aitf 



152 THE LIFE OF [p A RT nt, 

pigs ; " — referring; to my farm.— I considered, I am by the 
order of Providence made mistress of a great family, 
and in straitened circumstances. There is therefore 
occasion tor all my care and management, otherwise the 
embarrassment would be much greater. — And it is good 
for the uncommon pride of my nature, to bow before 
that word, " In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat 
bread." It is true I have bread enough for myself, but 
having joined the interest of so many with my own, I am 
willing to act thus, that they may have bread too. The 
Lord hath been pleased, also, to enable me to help the 
sick ; this calls for some labour, and some small expenses in 
preparing and applying the medicines : but many souls 
have been blest, and several brought to God thereby. 
Some rich persons, to whose ear I could never have had 
access, have, through the belief that I could help their 
bodies, admitted the closest application to their souls ; so 
that I dare as soon cut off my right-hand as burythis trifling 
talent in a napkin. The souls under my roof also call 
for more diligent care, than I am conscious I bestow upon 
them ; and though some say, "I do not regard as any 
thing what you do for the family, that is only burying 
yourself in one house ; ; ' yet I see it my duty, and I must 
apply thereto. 

Again, I believe I should strive to get at the neigh- 
bours, who live within my knowledge, and do good to 
their souls, if I can. To this it is replied, " You spend 
too much time on one neighbourhood." But perhaps I 
shall soon be called to leave this neighbourhood, and this 
family, and then I shall not repent of that application. I 
am also called to keep together some precious meetings, 
in which the work of God flourishes, and to go some- 
times to meet others in more distant places, as well as to 
write many letters on the concerns of the soul. And now 
I ask, — Lord, am I in my place or not ? To which it 
seemed my conscience gave the following answer : — The 
surest mark of true piety, is to fill up the duties of our 



PART III.] 



MRS. FLETClHEB. 153 



own station with the utmost fidelity. We may plan fine 
schemes, talk of many journeys, and see ourselves con- 
verting whole worlds,— but in these airy phantoms there 
is much danger of self having a great mixture. Whereas 
in the application to the order of God, in the present 
time as it opens itself from moment to moment, there is 
no room for choice. I have heard good people say, " I 
am weary of life, because of the burdens which I have 
r bear. I want to spend all my time in a more excellent 
w =iv " And yet as soon as they throw off one burden, 
the Lord finds them another. But the soul truly devoted 
to God, finds no oppressive burden, in the opening of 
the present moment, which shows the divine order of 
His providence, and brings with it, to the resigned soul, 
both light and power, either to act or suffer. In a low 
degreed find that to be my case. I am called to work ; 
and therein I fulfil my covenant, not to complain of toil, 
although my wages seems to be put into a bag full of holes. 
I cannot have my own choice herein ; nor do I complain 
of poverty. Thus I am often upbraided for walking in 
that order, in which, (till 1 can get out of it,) undoubtedly 
the Lord hath placed me. I sink under His yoke, and if 
I can but keep free from impatience or discouragement, 
1 may fulfil His will, and shall not complain of reproach. 
But alas ! I do too often admit discouragement, and am 
ready to cry out, 

" Ah ! whither or to whom shall I, 
Far from these woes, for kind protection fly ?'"' 

Vet something says in my heart, a time is at hand when 
the Lord will bring me out of these deep waters, — and I 
am determined to stand still and see His salvation. 

November. Last night I was led to pray much for a 
spiritual mind, both sleeping and waking. I went to bed 
recollected. — I dreamed I was sitting up in bed with the 
Bible in my hand. — I saw two shining appearances, but 
no distinct form. The appearance was as of the head/ 



154 THE LIFE OF [>ART II L 

of two glorious persons, and a ray of light came from 
them on the book in my hand, in which I was enabled to 
discover something which quite delighted me, and I cried 
out, — had I known this before, I should have made 
the whole house ring with shouts of praise ! I then saw 
all around my bed a beautiful garden filled with ever- 
greens, and on each tree, and on the ground, lay some- 
thing like a light frost. I wondered at that, till these 
words came to my mind, " The dew shall lie all night 
upon thy branches !" I then cried out, O what a delight- 
ful scene ! What a lovely prospect ! Here shall I for 
ever rest ! I then threw my soul with such a divine con- 
fidence on the Lord Jesus, as I think I never did before, 
and in that act I awaked. I could not recollect what the 
delightful discovery in the Bible was ; — but a fuller sense 
of God than ever before has rested on my soul. 

January 11, 1781. Many mercies have I seen within 
these three or four days. Nothing is so good to me, as 
to meet every thing in the will and order of God ; aban- 
doning myself, soul, body, and family, into His hands, 
believing he will order all right. I find many convictions 
about my household. I am not a faithful head. I neither 
lead them by example, instruction, or reproof, as I ought. 
Lord, teach me how to go in and out before this people I 
I seem to have an impression that I shall not long remain 
with them. I seem to see another place, and another 
people which I am called to ; — and outward things con- 
firm the impression. One thing I have been very faulty 
in during the last year, I have not risen early with any 
degree of constancy ; and that is a general loss, both to 
my own soul and my family. O Lord! when shall I 
be " all glorious within, and my clothing of wrought' 
gold ?» 

January 13. I have been to-day a good deal drawn 
out in prayer. My exercises as to outward things are 
very great. I have a most narrow path to walk in ! I ana 
called to Jive by faith indeed, As I was at prayer this. 



PART HI. J BIRS. FLETCHER. 10D 

morning, I was led to ask of the Lord, that He would 
bring me out of all my difficulties in His own way. Cer- 
tainly the whole earth is the Lord's, and I asked of him 
such a situation in life, as will most glorify Himself. It 
was brought before me, Perhaps that will be by bringing 
vou to entire poverty. I asked my heart, Am I willing 
on that condition to be made holy ? And I felt I could 
say, " Yes, Lord, yes." Again, the thought was suggested, 
- — but perhaps to a parish-house, while your income goes 
each year for your debts ? I answered, Thy will be done! 
It was then represented, as if I was on a common side, 
dying, destitute of every human help or comfort. — In 
that 1 felt great sweetness. But the sorest stroke was 
still behind ; What if you should die in debt, and leave 
nothing to pay ? and so through you the Gospel be 
reproached ? This came the nearest of all ; but it was 
clearly shown me, — That the fear of the Gospel being 
blamed, often arose from our fear of personal reproach ; 
—for as to the truths of God, He would take care of 
them ; — and if I was really wrong, it would be for the 
idory of God to have it made manifest : and if he was but 
glorified my soul was content. — Certainly, thought I. if it 
was in my power to break off my expenses, it would be 
right so to do ; — and I do right in contriving every way I 
can towards it. But as all my endeavours are always 
frustrated, I see no way but to cast myself on the will of 
God, and embrace, as His will, poverty and deep re- 
proach ; — and still continue to believe in the promises, 
till I see, even by the time of my death, that there has 
not been an accomplishment of them. Perhaps after all 
1 am right. Perhaps the day will come (impossible as it 
now appears,) when I shall have plenty of silver, and then 
*he light shall indeed shine on my way. 

Next June, I shall be fourteen years from Layton- 
stone, and the September following, I shall be forty-two 
years old. It may be that soon after that time, deliver- 
ance may appear* — The words rested on my mind. " By 



156 THE LIFE OF [PART III. 

the way that thou wentest, by that way shaltthou return." 
Lord, thou knowest what they mean ; — but I see all sorts 
of crucifixions are needful for me. — O ! my hard heart ! 
what need hath it had of breaking ! 

February 15. When I was at Leeds sometime since, 
I had much proof of the goodness of God in many ways. 
On the whole it was a journey for good. I heard a dream 
of a good woman while there, which was made a blessing 
to me. She thought she was dying, and felt her soul 
leave the body. — Immediately she found herself standing 
in the presence of God ! Jesus appeared to her as seated 
on a white throne ! He beckoned to her with his hand, 
and -;aid, Come up hither. When she was by his side, 
she saw many of the saints, with the angels. — Among, 
them was Willi im Bramah ; he shone very bright. Some 
others she knew also. — Our Lord then pointed to the 
crown? of some saints still on earth, — and she understood 
by the appearance of some of those crowns, that the 
persons were in great temptation. Our Lord and the 
glorious company seemed to sympathize gre- tly with 
them, — and when by faith they conquered, a jewel was 
added to the crown, and the whole shone brighter! But 
every time they gave way to any corruption, a gem 
dropped out, and the whole crown turned dark ! Some- 
times there seemed joy in Heaven over them ; some- 
times a kind of mourning. She sat sometimes in sweet 
delight, and then awaking, found with amazement she was 
still in the body ! 

I am going to . It is a fine opportunity for speak- 
ing to a number of the most lively souls, out of various 
societies, — and they begin to inquire all around when 
I will come. O my God, how these things break me to 
pieces! What an unworthy worm! If they knew me, 
how would they be astonished, that the Lord should 
work by such a one as me ! But thou canst do whatever 
seemeth Thee good? 



PART III.] MRS. FLETCHER. 157 

March 20. I have been poorly lately with a com- 
plaint in my eyes ; — I can write little. The cold this 
winter has been very severe, ant! I luve fell \i much, 
But O how am I indulged ! A good hous-\ a bed fit 
for a king, plenty of fire, food, &c! TVnU.; many of my 
Father's children know almost the want of nil thh's^ ', 
I was much affected the other day when th^ f "richer 
left our house. I thought, if I had in this snow and 
wind to ride over the moors, and through deep L-nes 
as he has, I could not sit on my horse. Truly 1 count it 
a great honour to be permitted to contribute in the least 
to their necessities ! O let me ever wash the feet of (he 
servants of my Lord ! 

I feel my soul does come forward. Constancy in early 
rising is a great blessing to me, both as a Christian, and 
as a mistress. The other morning I was waked with 
that word, " Ye have need of patience, that after ye 
have done the will of God, ye may receive the promises.' : 
At night as I was at prayer, that word also came with 
power, " Thou hast kept the word of my patience ; I also 
will keep thee in the hour of temptation !" Amen, Lord 
Jesus, Amen ! Give me to " keep the word of thy 
patience faithful unto the end !" 

April. My soul, wait thou still upon God, for of him 
cometh thy salvation. — More crosses, more disappoint- 
ments ; but last night I had a ray of faith which revived 
me. I have of late had a very clear view of the absolute 
necessity of keeping the mind always stayed on God. 
from those words, — "Resist the devil, and he will flee 
from you." Indeed he is a chained dog, and can go no 
farther than man's consent will suffer him. His works 
are chiefly carried on in the chambers of the imagina- 
tion. These are indeed the chambers of imagery ! He 
fixes his first hold in the imagination, which is the anti- 
chamber of the heart. — Afterward he passes on to the 
passions and affections. These form the passage through 
which all passes to the heart, both good and evil. If the 

14 



158 THE LIFE OF [RART III. 

mind then is engrossed by Satan, and he be suffered to 
rule there, the benign influence of the Holy Spirit is 
prevented, and the soul is fdled with all evil. Thus — 
" To be carnally-minded is death ; but to be spiritually- 
minded is life and peace." 

April 25. 1 have had some remarkable answers to 
prayer of late, and some directions by lot, which I shall 
lay up in my heart till I see the way of the Lord. O my 
God, give me just such a situation in every respect as 
will be most for thy glory ! Many blessings also I have of 
late received in visiting the sick, and strength has been 
given me above that which is common. I long for a 
closer walk with my God ! O that I may live to God 
every moment, with every power ! 

May 6, Sunday. I had liberty this day to entreat the 
Lord, to show me the surest and shortest way to holiness 
—Many things were showed me, which I hope to put in 
practice ; but above all, it was impressed on my mind, 
Live by faith, 



END OP THE THIRD PART 



PART THE FOURTH, 

Her marriage and removal to Madely. 



Ti 



HE seventh of June, 1781, as I before observed, was 
the day that began my fourteenth year in Yorkshire. On 
that day I took a particular view of my whole situation, 
and saw difficulties as mountains rise all around me. 
Faith was hard put to it. The promise seemed to stand 
sure, and I thought the season was come, yet the waters 
were deeper than ever. I thought also, how shall I 
now hold fast that word so powerfully given to mc, 
" The Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalthave 
plenty of silver ?" 

At length " the cloud arose as a man's hand." The 
very next day, June the eighth, I received a letter 
from Mr. Fletcher, in which he told me,— That he had 
for twenty-five years found a regard for me, which was 
still as sincere as ever ; and though it might appear odd 
he should write on such a subject, when but just re» 
turned from abroad, and more so without seeing me 
first, he .could only say, that his mind was so strongly 
drawn to do it, he believed it to be the order of Provi- 
dence. 

In reading this letter I was much struck. — So many 
circumstances all uniting, — 1. The season it came in. 
2. His writing on the subject before we had met, after 
an absence of fifteen years ; and without his having 



160 THE LIFE OF [PART. IV. 

the most distant suspicion of my mind being inclined 
towards it. 3. His mentioning, — That for twenty-five 
years he had had the thought. All these particulars 
answered to the marks which I had laid down. His un- 
expected recovery also, and safe return, so plainly pointed 
out the hand of Providence, that all ground of reasoning 
against it seemed removed. Yet, on the other hand, a 
strange fear possessed my mind lest I should take any 
step out of the order of God ; — nor was Satan wanting to 
represent great trials before me, which he told me I 
should not have strength to stand in. 

We corresponded with openness and freedom, till 
August the first, when he came to Cross-hall, and abode 
there a month ; preaching in different places with much 
power : — and having opened our whole hearts to each 
other, both on temporals and spirituals, we believed it 
to be the order of God we should become one, when 
He should make our way plain. 

He then returned to his parish, an hundred and twelve 
miles from the place where 1 lived ; — for we could not 
Uiink of taking the step, till my affairs were more clearly 
settled. — So we took our leave of each other, com- 
mitting all into His hand who " does what he will with 

His own." 

In about dve weeks he returned ; but still all seemed 
shut up, no way opened either for disposing of the farm, 
or of the family. Conversing one day with Mrs. Clap- 
ham, of Leeds, she said, " What do you stick at ? The 
Lord has done so much to convince you that this is to be 
your deliverance, how is it that you do not believe, and 
obey his order ? I verily believe if you would take the 
step in faith, your way would be made plain directly ; and 
1 will now tell you what has passed my mind concerning 
it. When I was some months since at Scarborough, as 
1 was one day in private, praying for you, and much 
drawn out in laying your trials before the Lord, I was as 
-f taken out of myself and saw by the eye of faith both 



PART IV.] MRS. FLETCHER. 361 

Mr. Fletcher and you, and that you were designed for 
each other, and that much glory^to God would arise from 
your union. But at the same time I saw there were 
various obstacles in the way ;— but the chief was the 
want of money. It seemed to me, however, if you 
would believe, and obey the order of God, all would be 
made clear before you. Then I saw a tall young man, 
(it seemed to me it was your youngest brother,) who 
poured down bags of gold, not once only, or twice, but 
several times. Some were small, others seemed large 
sums ; one was very large ; and it was impressed on my 
mind, that all your trials of that kind were over, and that 
you would never experience those difficulties any more."* 
She then asked, " Have you more brothers than one," 
I replied, Yes, I have two ; and the youngest is tall ; but 
I never received any thing in particular from him, nor 
have I the least reason to expect it. Her discourse, 
however, with several concurring circumstances, made 
an impression on our minds ; and after asking direc- 
tion from the Lord, we agreed to take the step in a 

fortnight. 

For" the first week all remained as usual ; but in the 
beginning of the second, a gentleman came quite unex- 
pectedly, and bought the place, for one thousand six 
hundred and twenty pounds. Three days after, another 
took the stock, &c. A way seemed also to open for each 
member of the family, so that with a little assistance, 
every one had a comfortable prospect before them. 
The case of one, a poor cripple, who had lived with me 
sixteen years, seemed difficult. — Though she feared and 
loved God, she had such infirmities, no one was .willing to 
take her ; and we had some reasons against taking her 

* This whole account is certainly very extraordinary. No pious person, 
however, will say, that the Lord has not helped, or would not thus direct 
or comfort his servants, in peculiar difficulties ; and no person who was 
acquainted with Mrs. Clapham, will doubt either the truth of her declare 
•Jon, or the sobriety of her mind. Ed. 

14* 



162 THE LIFE OP 

with us to Madely. But this difficulty also was removed. 
On Sunday night, November the 11th, I received a letter 
from a pious lady, who had first recommended her to me, 
stating, that she would take her back and maintain her. 

All was now so far settled, that I did not need to sell 
Layton-stone estate. — My income would afford to allow 
the pious souls of my dispersed family, fifty-five pounds 
per year, — pay the interest of the money still owing ; 
and yet leave me such an annual sum, as was about equal 
to my dear Mr. Fletcher's income ; and in case of my 
death, there was in Layton-stone more than would 
pay all. 

So on Monday, the 12th of November, 1781, in Batley 
Church, we covenanted in the name of the Father, and 
of the Son, and.of the Holy Ghost, " to bear each other's 
burdens," and to become one for ever. 

We agreed, it would be best to leave all our furniture, 
except a few trifles, to be sold with the house. Pine 
would do for us as well as mahogany. I felt some attach- 
ment to my neat furniture ; but love to the order of God, 
made me take the spoiling of them very cheerfully. 
The money was not to be paid in immediately for the 
estate ; we were therefore rather at a loss to settle all 
our accounts before we left the place, and to give that 
assistance to our friends we wished to do. On an exact 
calculation, we found an hundred pounds were wanting. 
We laid it before the Lord ; and the next post I received 
a letter from my youngest brother, with a bank note of 
one hundred pounds inclosed, as a present : — though he 
knew nothing of our particular want, nor had I the least 
reason to expect his assistance, except the extraordinary 
communication by Mrs. Clapham which I have related. 

On January 2, 1782, we set out for Madely. But Oh] 
where shall I begin my song of praise ? — What a turn is 
there in all my affairs ? — What a depth of sorrow, dis- 
tress, and perplexity, am I delivered from i How shall 
I find language to express the goodness of the Lord ? 



FART IV.] MRS. FLETCHER, 163 

Not one of the good things hath failed me of all the 
Lord my God hath spoken. Now I know no want, but 
that of more grace. I have such a husband as is in 
every thing suited to me. He bears with all my faults 
and failings in a manner that continually reminds me 
of that word, " Love your wives as Christ loved the 
church." His constant endeavour is to make me happy ; 
his strongest desire my spiritual growth. He is. in every 
sense of the word, — The man my highest reason chooses 
to obey. I am also happy in a servant, whom I took from 
the side of her mother's coffin, when she was four years 
old. She loves us as if wc were her parents, and is also 
truly devoted to God. 

Madely, Shropshire, May 30, 1782. Where shall I 
begin, or how recount thy faithfulness, O my God ! Oh ! 
■' What is man that thou art mindful of him ?" Above all, 
what am I, most sinful dust and ashes, that Thou hast 
made my cup to run over above all I could think or wish 
for ! O for holiness ! Lord, let me be thine, and doubly 
thine for ever ! 

O the fears which filled my soul before and after our 
marriage ! but how causeless have they all proved ! I 
have the kindest and tenderest of husbands ; so spiritual 
a man, and so spiritual a union, I never had any adequate 
conception of. He is every way suited to me, — all I 
could wish.* The work among souls increases. — I feel 
it is the Lord who hath cast my lot here. For some 
months I suffered much through fears of various kinds, 
all my situation being changed, I feared I should not be 
equal to the task allotted me, and that I should not be 
able to please the people " for their good. JJ But Oh ! 

* Mr. Wesley -observes in z, letter to the late Mrs. Rogers, at that time, 

December 9, 1781,) Miss Roe, " I should not have been willing that Miss 

Bosanquet should have been joined to any other person than Mr. Fletcher, 

but I trust she may be as useful with him as she was before," See his 

»verks, vol. xvi. 



1 61 THE LIFE OF [PART IV. 

had I in every trial but believed all the way through, 
how sweetly might I have gone on ! Now I see what a 
gracious Providence hath superintended all! "Praise 
the Lord, O my soul ; and all that is within me praise 
His holy name !" 

June 7. What a deliverance hath the Lord wrought 
for me ! A year ago, I thought there was nothing before 
me (temporally) but ruin. This day twelvemonths, I 
cried out, " Thou hast not delivered Thy people at all." 
How wonderful a chain of providences ! As soon as we 
determined to marry in a fortnight, and leave the event 
to the Lord, the house and all was sold in ten days, and 
a way made for every one ! But wanting a hundred 
pounds more to get out of that situation, we prayed the 
Lord to appear in our behalf, and immediately my 
youngest brother supplied our every need, though he 
knew not any thing of our necessity. 

" In all my ways Thy hand I own ! 
Thy ruling providence I see." 

September 12. I have seen forty-three years ! Lord, 
to what purpose ! Most of this day I have spent in secret 
prayer, — yet my soul is rather sorrowful. I have a 
variety of people and different calls of God to attend 
unto, — and 1 seem to want more wisdom, light, and love. 
3Iy spiritual sphere of action is different. I have in 
many respects a wider call for action than before — but 
such a one as requires the momentary teaching of the 
Lord, both in conversing and writing. — Yet I do not feel 
all that I felt at Hoxton. — No, I do not so live by faith as 
1 did then. But I lie before Thee, O Lord !— Do all thy 
will on thy poor creature, for whom thou hast appeared 
in so marvellous a manner ! 

October. The animating example of my dear husband 
stirs me up much — What a spiritual life does he live 
—night and day he is always on the stretch for God. — 



I*ART IV.] MRS. FLETCHER. 165 

I am a good deal encouraged for the people. I have 
much liberty in meeting them, and my soul feels sweet 
fellowship with some among them. 

November 1. I feel the care which a new place, and 
a new situation is apt to bring on, and it disturbs the 
peace which should be kept in my soul. " Lord, increase 
my faith!" There are many peculiar circumstances in 
our affairs, and strangers are concerned therein : but in 
the end I have found it all work for good ; it has been to 
me a good and useful lesson. First, I find it a cause of 
rejoicing that I have found so much love to the persons 
concerned in it;— and secondly, while I was praying 
about it, it seemed as if the Lord showed me, as imme- 
diately from Himself, that 1 was not required to have 
any anxious care, but that doing as well as I could, I 
might leave all to God. And if still I could not have 
things as I would wish, that it was the most profitable 
cross in the world ;— for it may be helpful to the soul, 
after doing all we can, to appear a fool in the eyes of 
men. Those words also bore much on my mind :— 

" Fix on his vrork ihy constant eye. 
So shall thy work be done." 

I now felt a sweet calm waiting on the will of God, and 
I could say, Lord, I leave every thing to Thee ! " One 
only care my soul shall know!" As I was telling the 
whole affair to my dearest husband, he said, " Polly, do 
not encumber yourself for my sake. If we must be 
thought ignorant and awkward, let us submit to it. I 
require nothing of thee, my Polly, but to be more and 
more devoted to God." 

November 1 2. Glory ! unceasing glory to my adorable 
Lord ! This day we have been married one year. O 
how does my soul praise God for this gracious provi- 
dence ! What an help-mate is he to me, and how much 
better do we love one another this day, than we did this 
day twelvemonths ! — On a close examination, I have 



166 THE LIFE OF [PART IV. 

reason to believe mv soul is coming forward. I have 
seen this year many and great changes, — had many trials, 
and many comforts, — and I have learned much experience 
in various things which has been much blest to me. O 
for the moment when I shall become a whole burnt- 
sacrifice ! 

Having had some hurry by means of unexpected com- 
pany staying in the house, and some other things ; — and 
reflecting how hard it is to keep up uninterrupted com- 
munion with God in outward hurry, — it was opened 
before me, That the very spirit of the Christian life 
stood in the strictest observation of these words, " If a 
man offend not in tongue, the same is a perfect man, and 
able also to bridle the whole body." Now, for want of 
this watchfulness, I offend often, and that causes distrac- 
tion of spirit, and much hurt many ways. If I had a 
more constant waiting, a more continual attention to the 
Spirit of God, I believe I should find much more room 
for silence than I usually do ; — and that when it was my 
duty to speak, my words would have more weight. 
my God, bring me to this ! by the way that thou knowest, 
give me a watchful mind. An eye always fixed on Thee, 
and a far deeper sense of Thy sacred presence ! I also 
want a greater power of faith to lead on these precious 
souls that are under my care to more abundant life. 
Many are now just on the river's brink, but it seems 
they want a better helper to assist in bringing them over. 

May 21, 1783. This day has been a day of trial. In 
the morning as I walked out about six o'clock, Mr. ***'s 
letter of last night, came with pain to my mind. — I do 
not like the good that is in my dearest Mr. Fletcher to be 
evil spoken of. Before dinner I strove to get near to 
God, but having been up most of last night, I was very 
heavy. In the afternoon I could do but little, but I strove 
to pray. That passage in Mr. Wesley's Notes on the 
first Epistle of St. John, was much blest, and very sweet 
■to me. " Love is the beginning of eternal life. — The 



PART IV. j $IRS. FLETCHER, 107 

same in substance with glory." Also, St. John ; s wor,ds. 
" He that abideth in Him sinneth not." — I saw love com- 
prised all in itself. For two hours I was led to lie before 
the Lord, though with many distractions, yet mingled 
with faith and longing desire. O when wilt Thou take 
up in me thine everlasting abode ! 

May 22. I have this day been engaged in company, 
and sweetly met the order of God therein. — 1 was enabled 
to be watchful ; and blessed be God, my tongue has been 
kept. We took sweet counsel together, and I felt the 
Lord was the director of all within and without. 

August 5. Since the above, (May 22,) what have I 
seen of the goodness of the Lord ! A fever has been in 
the parish, which took off many whom we saw it our 
duty to attend. It brought eternity very near, and that 
always does me good. It came into our family ; and Sally 
was attacked with it. But my gracious God supported 
me under all burdens, and raised her up again in a won- 
derful manner. Soon after her recovery, Dr. Coke came 
in his way from Dublin. When I heard he was below. 
1 felt an unusual spring of pleasure, with something of a 
conviction that he brought a message from the Lord. I 
instantly felt a spirit of submission, and as it were a listen- 
ing to the will of God. So I have often felt when some 
conviction of fresh duty was about to be made plain to 
me. A few days before this, as I was one morning at 
prayer, I thought of one of our neighbours, (a speaker 
among the friends,) who wis gone to Ireland. It was 
suggested, Should I be called thither, could I resolve to 
go ? It really seemed I could not. The sea, to me ever 
terrible, appeared then doubly so, and I groaned under 
the thought, — where is faith and resignation ? 

When we came into the parlour, we found the Doctor 
had brought some letters from Dublin to each of us, by 
which it seemed the cloud moved that way. We said 
but little then, but. went to church, where the Doctor 
preached. Before we came out, my soul was all readi 



*68 THE LIFE OF [PART IY. 

ness to go to the world's end, if my adorable Lord so 
ordered it. 

When we came home, I followed my dear to his study, 
and told him if he saw it his call to go, I saw it mine to 
follow him. He tenderly objected my health, as I had 
been very poorly some time, and in £ • ;b a state of relaxa- 
tion, that I waked for several mornings with blood in my 
mouth : but I believed that was not to hinder. Since 
that day we have been preparing for our journey,— and 
I have enjoyed some communion with God in so doing. 
Satan is not wanting to suggest every thought that can 
raise fear. One day I was thinking, what would save 
me from all painful fear ? If the Lord was to give me a 
promise of our safe return,— that my dear husband's 
health should not be hurt, and that we should have much 
success when there, — would that do ? I hesitated, and 
my confidence seemed to be shook by temptation. I then 
thought, What will enable me to drink this cup to the 
glory of my Lord ? My heart presently answered, 
Nothing but an entire resignation ; a losing of my whole 
will in that of my Lord's,— and here I instantly found I 
was on a solid rock. 

This trial is not come single. — My dear husband's 
health is not very good. What the Lord will do with us 
1 know not. We are, however, .ready for setting off. I 
feel my heart much enlarged, and my spirit so willing to 
do and suffer the whole will of God, that it amazes me, 
When I think of my dear husband's life or health being 
in danger, I am not anxious as I used to be, but can rest 
in the love and wisdom of my unchangeable Friend. For 
this I praise Him, because no words can express the 
treasure I possess in our union. It is such as I had no 
idea was to be enjoyed in a married state ; and in pro- 
portion as I get nearer to God, I find a daily increase of 
that union, — and yet I am enabled so to give him up to 
the Lord, that it holds my soul in a quiet dependence and 
sweet adherence to the will of God. 



FART IV.] flfRS. FLETCHER, 



169 



William-street, Dublin, September 12th. This day of 
our birth calls for solemn praise. I say our birth, because, 
as far as we can learn, my dear Mr. Fletcher was bom 
on the same day, ten years before me. And why were 
we ever brought into being ? Here is the comfortable 
answer, " I have created thee for my glory : I have 
formed thee for my praise !" O let us answer that design 

for ever ! 

Many were my conflicts before we set out for thicv 
place. At one time it was represented to me, that when 
we were on the watery element, the prince of the power 
of the air would exert all his efforts against us. As the* 
{bought presented, in a moment those words sprang up 
in my heart, — 

" We shall be safe, for Christ displays 
Superior power and guardian grace." 

The Lord gave me to see the whole Universe so under 
his command, as I cannot express. I saw him as " hold- 
ing the winds in his fist," and " the waters in the hollow 
of his hand." And that sooner all nature should change, 
than one of God's promises fail. I am naturally inex- 
pressibly fearful, with all sorts of fear, beyond what 
words can paint; and it was often represented, if I went 
among strangers, I should, by that weakness, bring much 
discouragement on the feeble ones of the flock. But the 
instance of Gideon was brought before me, and I was 
made to feel, The Lord can get himself glory by the 
weakest worm ; and my heart answered, O Will Divine, 
which I adore and love ! what a rest there is to be found 
in Thee ! 

Well, in this will, with the prayers and blessing of 
many of our friends, on August the 12th, we set off. As 
we drove from our own door, and my dear was commend- 
ing us to the protection of the Lord, that word rested on. 
my mind with power, — J am thy shield. When we passed 
the Birches, (where a few years ago that remarkable 

15 



170 THE LIFE OF [PART IV 

phenomenon occurred) Mr. Fletcher pointed out to me 
the roads and fields which were so lately covered with 
the river. We could not but be much amazed at the 
stupidity of the human heart. Most of the inhabitants 
seem almost to have forgotten the whole transaction ! and 
we were led to observe, how vain is the common objec- 
tion to the miracles of our Lord — or to the sun standing 
still at Joshua's word, that they are not recorded in com- 
mon history. Ah no ! That which does not take* hold on 
the sinful affections, is soon lost and forgotten ! While 
we were conversing on the above subject, we passed the 
'Eaton-Constadine, a little village rendered famous by the 
birth of that great servant of God, Mr. Baxter, with 
whose spirit we joined our feeble act of worship before 
the Throne. 

At night we were affectionately received by Mrs. 
Glynne of Shrewsbury, whose love to the children of 
God does not grow cold. May He who hath promised 
the prophet's reward repay her in time and eternity. 
While my dear was preaching that night, on the danger 
of being ashamed of the Gospel, my heart yearned towards 
the people of that place, and the cry of my spirit was, 
-' O that these people might live before Thee." The 
next morning we pursued our journey as far as Llangollen 
in Wales, — but all the horses being out, we were con- 
strained to abide there all night. Inquiring (as we 
walked about the town) wnether they had any praying 
people among them, the poor things answered us in the 
best manner they could ; — and after consulting together, 
they said, — " Yes, Sir, there are some people who pray 
in houses at the other end of the town, but we do not know 
what they be." Another said, — :; This very night there 
is a man to preach in the Chapel belonging to these pray- 
ing people." According to their direction we went to 
the place, and found a few poor people gathered in a 
building, I believe part of an old house. The preacher,! 
seemed very earnest and lively ; I say seemed, for we 



PART IV.] MRS. FLETCHER. 171 

could not understand one word, — except Gogoniant, and 
Gvvaed, glory and blood, which, with much emphasis, he 
often repeated. After we were returned to our inn, a 
few who could understand English came to us, and desired 
my dear to give them a sermon in the morning, which he 
did, on these words, " This is his commandment, that we 
should believe on the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and 
love, one another, as he hath given us commandment. 15 
It was a good time, and several were present who un- 
derstood English. We then set off for Conway, and 
Friday afternoon reached Holyhead. Here, for some 
reasons, I wished to stop a little, and inquiring when a 
vessel would sail, we were informed, not till next morn- 
ing. Mr. Fletcher was but poorly. A swelling which 
he had on his face now broke, and gave him much incom 
venience ; but on Saturday morning, we were informed 
that the packet was going off. Some of the people said, 
il The wind is quite contrary, you will have but a disagree- 
able passage ;" — but believing it to be the order of God ; 
we embarked. Now I remembered how the Lord had 
shown me, — " He measureth the waters in the hollow of 
his hand." The wind soon grew more favourable, and 
the sea so smooth, that it seemed to me as if I heard him 
say, Peace, be still ! Mr. Fletcher was not much affected 
by the sea, but I was very ill.— About one o'clock on 
Sunday morning, we cast anchor three miles from Dublin 
We then got into a boat, which was rather troublesome, 
as the tide kept it in continual agitation ; but through the 
o-oodness of the Lord we arrived safe. After being 
hindered some time by the custom-house officers, we 
reached by five in the morning the Hotel on Dublin 
Quay. 

We now abide with our hospitable friends, Mr. and 
Mrs. Smyth, in William-street, and have seen much of 
the Lord's hand in bringing us hither. My dear husband 
has been favoured with such an unction in preaching the 
-.rord. that it distils " as the dew on the mown gross/" 



17i5 THE LIFE OP [PART IV. 

The present preachers in Dublin, Brs. Rutherford and 
Jackson, are truly simple pious men, and respect thai 
command,—" In honour preferring one another." They 
heartily rejoice in the message my dear husband delivers 
among "them. There are some spirits in this place m 
whom we find a degree of the primitive simplicity, 
rejoicing to see a stranger whom they believe the Lord 
has sent to be " a helper of their joy." 

I feel a faith riveted in my heart, that before it is long 
there will be a great revival of the work of God in 
Dublin. I feel much liberty in meeting the classes. 
Here are a few souls truly athirst for full salvation, and 
many who inquire after the most excellent way. Our 
kind and generous host and hostess, allow us all free- 
dom in their house, for the glory of God, and the good 
of his people ; and as their servants also are pious up- 
right persons, we can here worship with them in calm 
and brotherly love ? 

Madely, October 30. How much of thy goodness, 
O my God ! have I seen since I last wrote ! On the 
seventh of this month we left Dublin, and embarked in a 
Liverpool brig, bound for Holyhead. We had a long 
way to go in the boat, and about eight at night entered 
the vessel. The sea was then pretty smooth ; but in 
the night the wind grew high, and the Captain thought 
the sea more swelling than he had seen it for some years. 
—It was what they call very squally ; and we were ex- 
tremely sick, far worse than in going. Those words., 
given me before I left home, were much on my mind, 

" And shall He not have 
The life which He gave, 
So precious a ransom for ever to save ?" 

And also, " Though I remain in the uttermost parts of the 
sea, there shall His hand guide me, and His right-hand 
shall hold me." I could not tell whether they were not 
a call to sacrifice our livp? to him, who had sacrificed His 



If ART IV.] MRS. FLETCHER. 173 

for us : but I lay still before the Lord, in the spirit of 
resignation, saying, " Thy will be done." 

In going over, my dear husband's tender attention was 
a great alleviation to my suffering, but now we were both 
so ill, (as was also Sally) we could scarce speak or look 
towards each other, but only wait before the Lord, that 
all His will might be done. Towards morning, the pump 
told us the vessel was leaky, but it was in a small degree, 
and we were near land. It served to remind us of that 
word, " There is but a step between me and death !" 

Since our return I have closely examined what I have 
lost or got in these last three months. I exceedingly 
praise the Lord, that ever we went to Dublin, and that 
for various reasons. There are some souls there with 
whom my spirit found much fellowship ; — at whose feet 
I sat, and I trust learned many useful lessons. My dear 
Mr. Fletcher preached in several places besides the 
Preaching-house in White-Friars-street, both to the 
French and English, and we had some remarkable proofs 
that he was called there of God.* I have also learned 

* Having visited Dublin soon after the departure of these servants of 
God, I can add my testimony to the great and good effects which resulted 
from their visit, and their truly evangelical labours. Never did I see such 
leep impressions made on the minds of that people, except perhaps, in the 
verv short visits of Mr. Wesley. But he had the care of all the churches, 
mi was occupied with that care in every place. Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher 
had a liberty in that respect which our Father in the Gospel could not have. 
Thi y were the unencumbered helpers of the people's joy ; and it was truly 
the joy of the Lord. Those divine impressions were deep and abiding; 
v.vL as Mrs. Fletcher hoped, a great revival of pure religion followed in 
that society. It had usually consisted of about 500 persons, but it soon 
increased to upwards of 1,000, and has never since fallen below that num- 
ber. Such longing after entire conformity to the Son of God, I never 
beheld ! It seemed to be the general sentiment of all from the highest to the 
lowestof the people. How wide this sacred influence might have extended 
who can tell, if a poor sectarian spirit had not limited the labours of the 
man of God. On their arrival in Dublin, their host, Mr. Smyth, a distin- 
guished and most respectable gentleman, applied to the Rector of St. 
Andrew's Parish, (in which he lived,) for Mr. Fletcher to preach in his 
Church ; and as he was a beneficed minister, it was immediately granted. 
Tho diurch, (commonalty called the Round C ! mrch) was crowded to ex 

15* 



174 THE LIFE OF [PART iy. 

more of my own weakness and ignorance. I know not I 
ever found a more humbling season than while I was 
there. My continual prayer was — Ah ! Lord, break me 
in pieces ! Melt me down and let me flow, and more fully 
take the mould divine ! My soul is deeply convinced of 
the need of being filled with " all the fruit of the Spirit," 
pr I shall never bring glory to my God. O that thou 
wouldst accomplish all thy will upon me ! 

Since our return, my dear husband has taken anolhei 
journey of about two hundred miles, from which he has a 
good deal suffered. His face is not yet well. But the 
unwearied patience and resignation wherewith he goes 
through all, is to me a continual lesson, which I wish to 
imitate. 

November 12. And do we see the anniversary of our 
blessed union yet another year ? And are we yet more 
happy and more tender towards each other ? Yes, glory 
be to God ! we are ; and what is better, I can truly say, 
our souls get nearer to God. We are more spiritual, 
and live more for eternity. What have we passed through 

cess. Mr. Fletcher's text was — Almost thou persuadest me to he a Chris- 
tian. — Acts xxvi. 28. He showed what it was to be a Christian, from the 
liturgy which had just been read ; beginning with the general confession,, 
and the authoritative declaration of pardon to those " Who truly repent, 
and unfeignedly believe His Holy Gospel ;" — and going on to that " Clean- 
sing of our hearts by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, that we may per- 
fectly love Him, and worthily magnify His Holy Name, through Jesus 
Christ our Lord." He then proceeded to persuade them, with an earnest- 
ness and power that astonished the congregation, some of whom seemed to 
doubt if he were not more than human. But, alas ! It was soon known. 
that Mr. Fletcher preached that same evening at the Methodist Preaching, 
house J The pulpits of the Churches were immediately shut against him, 
with the exception of the French Church. The first time he preached 
there, his text was— Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after 
ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ; — Hebrews x. 
32. He thus brought before them the faith of their ancestors, and the 
persecutions that had driven them from their native land, — and strongly 
enforced the inquiry, Do ye now believe? — When some of the people were 
asked, " Wiry did you go to the French Church to hear Mr. Fletcher, when 
£ou could not understand one word he said? They answered, " We went 
io look at him. for heaven seemed to beam frpin his countenance .'" Ed. 



T IV-] MRS< FLETCHEK * *" J 

ther since this day twelvemonth ! What a tender 

\° ge ] friend hath he proved himself to me in every cir~ 

L^ance of each situation ! And now Providence hath 

CU ' ricsously brought us again to our own country, and 

S ° ui et habitation— O that we may live to Him more than 

eVer ' I was much blest in offering up my whole 



■WiV- 



•/ with ail my concerns, into the hand of God, believ 
^ C " He would appoint me all my work and all my crosses. 
!_He showed me He would make His will known to me 
+ |. r0U o-h that of my dear husband, and that I was to ac- 
cept his directions as from God, and obey Him as the 
church does Christ. That I must give myself to his 
Guidance as a child, and wherever we were called, or 
however employed in the work of God, I should always 
find protection,' and glorify God, while I renounced all 
choice by doing the will of another rather than my own. 
This indeed I have always seen ; but it was now more 
deeply impressed on my heart, as I was assured there 
was no danger in doing so, having his guidance. I saw 
how often through that unaccountable fear which presses 
down my spirit, I have been afraid to follow in the ways 
he hath pointed out, and so have hindered the order of 
God. Lord, from this day 1 covenant afresh to be in this 
particular at Thy own disposal ! 

February 3, 1784. This day my convictions have 
been greatly deepened concerning the sin of unwatchful- 
ness in the use of my tongue. We must be willing to be 
dumb, and not open our mouth when God's order calls 
us to it ; and to be fools in the eyes of man, that wc 
may receive the true wisdom. 

September 12. This day I am forty-five years old. 
Lord, what hath my setting sun to shine on ? Must I say, 
A lost life ! Oh how much of it hath been so ! What 
miaht I have been ! What might I have done for Thee. 
God ! Yet this day I have had such a sense of the 
goodness of God towards me as I cannot express. I am* 



176 THE LIFE OF [PART iv, 

filled with favours ! I have the best of husbands, who 
daily grows more and more spiritual, and I think more 
healthful, being far better than when we first married. 
My call is also so clear, and I have such liberty in the 
work, and such sweet encouragement among the people. 
My servant too is much improved, and as faithful as if 
she was my own child. An income quite comfortable, 
and a good deal to help the poor with ! O what shall I 
render to the Lord, for all the mercies he hath shown 

unto me ! 

October. As I was retired this morning at my ten 

o'clock hour, I was called down to Mary G , I asked 

her if she still retained her spiritual liberty. I found 
by her answers that she did, which caused me to praise 
the Lord. She gave me a strange account, which I shall 
insert as she related it. A short time ago, she said she 
was one day going out to work in the fields, but thought 
she would "first go up stairs to prayer.— While on her 
knees, praising God for the care He had taken of her 
children, she was amazed to see her eldest son, about 
tvventv-one years old, standing before her ! She started 
U p _but thought, May be it is the enemy to affright me 
from prayer. Casting her eyes again to the same spot 
*he still saw him there, on which she ran down into the 
kitchen, calling on the name of the Lord ! Still wherever 
she looked, she saw him standing before her, pale, and 
as if covered with dirt ! Concluding from this that he was 
killed, she ran to her mother,— who, on hearing the ac- 
count,' went directly to the pit, determined to have him 
home, if alive. On her drawing near the pit, she heard 
a great tumult, for the earth had fallen in on him and two 
other men, and the people were striving to dig them out. 
At length he was got up alive and well, and came home 
to his "mother, pale and dirty, just as she had seen him! 
She then fell on her knees, and began praising that God 
who hears and answers prayer! Many of the ungodly 
neighbours, having been witness to the whole transaction. 



PART IV. J MRS * FLETCHER. 177 

much aftected, and I trust this very strange occur 
re nee will work for good.* 

October. Yesterday I was very much taken up in 
house-affairs. Various things occurred which would at 
some times have been a burden ; but every thing seemed 
Jjlest. These words were all day the language of my 

heart, 

" With thee delighted I forget 
All time, and toil, and care ; 
Labour is rest, and toil is sweet, 
If thou, my God, be there." 

It was a day of prayer and sweet recollection. This day 
also I have found much of the presence of God. — O for 
a power of self-denial in all things to do His will ! 

November 12. We have been married three years 
this day. A good day it has been to me ! My spirit has 
been much drawn out in prayer for a further lift of faiths, 
without which I am sensible I cannot obtain the fulfilment 
of that promise, ki Her clothing shall be of wrought 
gold ?" As I was this day reflecting on the wonderful 
goodness of God in my providential union with my dear 
husband, (so far, so very far, beyond my warmest wishes) 
my heart was enlarged with desire to render to my God 
a suitable return for all his mercies ! I cried from the 
bottom of my soul to the Father, that He would draw me 
to the Son ! I called on Christ as my living Head ! I?j 
was a peculiar season. These words have ever since 
abode on my mind, 

" See Him to thy help come down, 
The excellence divinec" 

November 16. A thought struck my mind to-night, a$ 
I was looking over some part of my diary, — That there 
Is not praise enough for spiritual blessings. I express 

* Was not this extraordinary dispensation permitted for the good of 
'he«e ignorant ungodly persons, who were not likely to be moved by mare 
rational means ? £$. 



178 THE LIFE OF [PART ly. 

my wants, but I ought to praise the Lord without ceasing, 
that He gives me such an open door to pour out my 
wants into His bosom ; and the answers to prayer I have 
of late found, have been so quick, so certain, and so won- 
derful, 1 am amazed ! 

In July last, we believed the Lord called us to York- 
shire for a few weeks,* and many answers to prayer did 
we meet with in that journey. Soon after our return, 
my dear husband was called to take another journey. I 
knew he would meet with much fatigue therein ; and 
every journey hurts him much : but I was amazed at the 
€alm resignation I felt ; the language of my heart was, 

41 Happy to meet, yet free to part, 
Through Thee for ever in one heart." 

This autumn I have been a good deal among the people, 
and have found great liberty both in public and private 
meetings. Two dear souls have been lately brought in, 
and though persecution burns hot against them, they are 
ret firm, and rejoice that thpy " are counted worthy to 
suffer for the cause of God." Lord, keep them, and 
make them firm as the beaten anvil to the stroke ! 

Lord's day. My dear husband was very poorly, and 
had much appearance of a fever. In the morning meet- 
ing, I told the dear women we must hold him up by 
prayer ; and indeed I felt our prayers had free access to 
the Lord, It would have warmed a heart of stone to 
have heard Mary Matthews give her simple, yet solid and 
wise declaration of the goodness of God. She had been 
a long time creeping hither with her sore leg ; but she 
seemed scarce to know which to praise God most for, the 
strength he had given her to do so, or the pain she had 
felt all the night before ! « For,' ? said she, " if I had 
not had pain, 1 should have slept. But instead of that, 
I had such a divine visit from my Lord, and such sweet 

To attend the Conference,— the last at which JJr. Fletcher wa» 

Dresent. Ed, 



PART IV j * IRS ' FLETCHER ' 179 

■ tercourse with Him, I would not have been without it 
fVall the world.*' This woman grows much in grace ; 
X? i? to me a great consolation, and a help in training up 
«ome of the lambs of the flock. She had been for some 
years in a mourning state, (though she still retained her 
futh ) but the first Sabbath my dear hushand and I spoke 
in the kitchen, she was set at liberty while these word? 
were sung, 

" The year of jubilee is come ! 
Return, ye ransom'd sinners, home !" 

January 5, 1785. I have this day been looking over 
jiiy many mercies, and my heart was melted into love ! 
what a prospect ! Lord, speak again to my heart, 
« Thou shalt walk with me in white !'" I cast my whole 
self on thy mercy ! So much I feel of it as makes me 
rest under thy shadow ! Thy will shall be my choice ! 
sometimes I think I am so surrounded with comforts, 1 
shall not answer that character, — " These are they which 
came out of great tribulation." — But I abandon myself to 
Thy dear will, only let me glorify thee to the uttermost ! 
Yea, with every power ! — It was a good time, last night 
also while at the prayer-meeting. 

Yesterday I went with my dear husband to — —but 
being taken ill, I was forced to return home. This is 
often the case with me. I am oft disappointed in what 
appears at first the will of God ; but at this time it was 
far otherwise. I felt a pleasure in appearing mean and 
good for nothing. Yes, I will glory in my infirmity, that 
the will of God may be done in me 1 

July 2. Much blest to-day while my dear husband was 
preaching the sermon to the club. I had a sweet sight 
how union with God could transform the soul into his 



own image. 



July 26. This summer being dry, I have had much 
opportunity of going about. One day at the Rough Park. 
I had a peculiar instance of the goodness of God, A son 



180 THE LIFE 01 [PART ly. 

of Belial, a nicked, rude fellow, bound himself and 
another young man, whom he had drawn in, under a 
blasphemous oath, that they would be there by the time 
we began, in order to make a disturbance. Accordingly 
about six o'clock he was for setting off, — when he was 
suddenly struck as with death! All about him really 
thought he was dying. He continued thus for some 
hours. O how easily can the Lord put his bridle into 
the jaws of those He would restrain ! I gave it out to 
be there again that day fortnight, but in the mean time I 
walked to a distant place, rather beyond my strength ; 
however we had a good time. On my return home, I 
fe t very weary, and the thought passed my mind, My 
soul is too swift for my body, for it seemed as if it would 
fly to those places where there appeared a call. My 
earthly frame however was too heavy to drag after it. 
That night I began to grow ill, und it terminated in a 
fever. My limbs swelled a good deal, and I was covered 
with red spots, but had not much pain. Now I had a 
fresh instance of the tender care and love of my blessed 
partner ; — sickness was made pleasant by his kind atten- 
tion. When the day came for me to be at the Rough 
Park, he went himself, but was so penetrated with the 
thought of losing me, that he preached as it were my 
funeral sermon ; and the dear people joined him in his 
feelings and prayer. During this illness, many thoughts 
passed my mind, which I can scarce account for. For a 
good while past my dear husband has joined with me in 
prayer in an uncommon manner. We are led to offer 
ourselves to do and suffer all the will of God. Some- 
thing seems to tell me I must have more of the bitter 
cup ; and these words are much with me — " That I may 
stand in the evil day, and having done all— stand." My 
prayer is, That the evil day may be before death, — not at 
the last. But, Lord, Thy will — Thy -whole will be done ! 

Certainly I have now scarce any cross. — Thou hast 
made my cup to run over ! Yea, Thou hast made me to 



PART IV.] MRS ' LETCHER. 18l 

f rzet all my sorrows. It seems as if I had never suffered 
thing ! There is not a comfort I can wish for, which 
I have not ; — but, Lord, I want more grace ! 

October 25. When I wrote last, (July 26,) I was 
indeed arrived at the summit of human felicity ! My cup 
did indeed run over! I often said, Lord ! how is this ? 
\m I indeed one of those of whom it is said, " These 
are they who came out of great tribulation ?" My way 
is strewed with roses. I am ready to say with Joseph, 
» The Lord hath made me to forget all my afflictions, 
and all my father's house !" 

But Oh ! how shall I write it ! — On the fourteenth of 
\uo-ust, 1785, the dreadful moment came! The sun of 
my earthly joys for ever set, and the cloud arose which 
casts the sable on all my future life ! At half past ten 
that Sabbath night, I closed the eyes of my beloved ! 
What a change ! The whole creation wears a new face 
to me. The posture of my mind at this season, I will 
not trust to my memory to describe. I will leave it in 
the rough manner I then set it down. Perhaps some one 
walking in the same dreary path, may find a little com- 
fort therefrom. To others, it may be dry and insipid. 
" The heart knoweth its own bitterness." 
On September ib, 1785, I wrote in my diary as follows, 

« I am truly a desolate woman, who hath no helper but 

Thee." I remember a little before the translation of 
my dearest love, we were drawn out continually to ask 
for a greater measure of the Spirit — such a measure as 
was given at Pentecost : or in other words, such a mani- 
festation of the loving nature of God, as should fulfil in 
us that promise, " Ye are the temples of the Holy 
Ghost." This I asked and pleaded for, and that on any 
condition. My dear Mr. Fletcher used to say, " That 
\i right, Polly, let us hold fast there, and leave all the 
rest to God ; though He should be constrained to part 
'!.< asunder to give the answer." 

16 



182 THE LIFE OF [PART IT. 

On the Tuesday before my love died, when those 
words were applied to my mind, " Where I am, there 
shall my servants be, that they may behold my glory," 
I felt such a power in them, as seemed in a great degree 
to take away the bitterness even of that dreadful cup, 
" To behold my glory !" That thought would for moments 
swallow up all, and I seemed to lose myself in the desire 
of His glory being manifested. But that awful night J 
when I had hung over my dear husband for many hours, 
expecting every breath to be his last, and during which, 
time he could not speak to, nor take any notice of me, 
a flood of unspeakable sorrow overspread my heart, and 
quite overwhelmed my spirit. I was scarcely in ray 
senses ; — and such a fear seized my soul lest I should say 
or do any thing displeasing to the Lord, that I was torn 
as it were a thousand ways at once. 

My fatigue had been great, I was barely recovered of 
my fever, and this stroke so tore my nerves, that it was 
an inlet to much temptation. In former parts of my life, 
I have felt deep sorrow ; but such were now my feelings, 
that no words that I am able to think of can convey an 
adequate idea thereof. The next morning— Oh! my 
God ! What a cup didst thou put into my hand ! Not only 
my beloved husband, but it appeared to me my Saviour 
also, was torn from me ! Clduds and darkness surrounded 
both soul and body ! The sins even of my infancy came 
before me, and assaulted me as thick as hail ! I seemed 
to have no love, no faith, no light, — and yet I could not 
doubt but I should see the smiling face of God in glory ! 
Yea— that heaven would terminate all my sufferings! 
There did not seem one dart thrown at my final salva- 
tion. An unshaken belief that Christ would bring me. 
through all, was my great support ; — and it seemed to 
me, that I must have been annihilated had I been moved 
from that anchor. No finite creature could have sup- 
ported it. My agonized soul seemed to sweat blood ; 



PART IV.] MRS * FLETCHER. 183 

and I felt the meaning of those words, " The pains of 
hell got hold upon me !" What, said I, is this the soul that 
but a few days ago delighted in the thought of « His 
„l or y!" But now he hath entered into judgment with 
me! My soul was amazed, and in deep anguish; and 
literally my life drew nigh to the grave ! 

When formerly I have read accounts like this, I have 
thought,— These persons have a strong way of expressing 
themselves ;— but alas ! I solemnly declare, no expres- 
sion appears to me strong enough for what I felt. That 
word passed my mind several times. 

" Even to His Father did He look 
In pain,— His Father him forsook .'" 

A host of foes seemed to surround me, and I was (as it 
appeared to me) given into their hands.* — Those words 
came often to my mind, " To know him, and the power 
of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings." 
Sometimes I remembered that expression, "My God! 
my God ! why hast thou forsaken me?" I cast my 
mournful eyes towards the " Man of sorrows" who 
spoke them, but there seemed no answer, all was horror 
and darkness. 

Many times a day I visited my lovely corpse, remem- 
bering, as I knelt beside him, how he used to say, " Ah ' 
mv dear Polly, must I ever see thee laid out on this bed !" 
But alas ! he could no more speak to me, no more 
express his tender sympathy! Now " 1 trod the wine- 
press alone," and truly, " there was none with me." 
The rest of the day, I sat mostly alone in the next room, 

* This whole account describes truly, — •* The hour, and the power of 
darkness. The blast of the terrible ones" was indeed " as a storm against 
the wall ."' But this " follower of Christ," nevertheless, " walked not ia 
fkrkness." She, like her Master, could say, "My God! My God!" when 
her " soul was sorrowful even unto death." Thus " Heaven its choicest 
gold by suffering tried." The saint sustained it, — but the woman felt ■ 
and she no more disguised her feelings than our divine Master did, Ed. 



184 THE LIFE OF [PART 1\. 

where my window presented to my view the grave 
digging, and the church-yard visited by numbers to look 
at the vault ! — Soon it occurred to my mind, that before 
we married, some letters had passed between us on par- 
ticular subjects, which he had often told me I had better 
burn, — saying, " Thou puttest it off; and if one of us 
should die, — it will almost kill the other to do it then," 
Yet, being loath to part with them, I had neglected to 
do it ; but now being seized with a kind of palsy, and 
loss of memory, I thought, perhaps in another day I may 
not be able to do it, and then I shall be unfaithful to my 
dear husband's command. The third day therefore I 
carried them to the fire. — But oh ! what did I feel at 
the sight ! I could not even avoid seeing some of the 
tender expressions they contained, which were now as 
barbed arrows to my heart. Next day came on the 
funeral. 

All this time my soul was as in the lion's den. The 
day after, I heard that some reports were abroad con- 
cerning my dear husband's death, — as if he had been 
delirious, and expired in great agonies. I believed I was 
called to write the truth ; — and casting myself on the 
Lord, to be guided by his hand as a mere machine, I took 
up my pen, and wrote to Mr. Wesley the following 
letter. — I wrote it at one sitting, intending to copy it 
afterward ; but I had no more strength than just sufficed 
for the occasion. 1 sent it therefore as it waf^to the 
press, and left it all to God. 

" August 18th, 1785. 

;: Rev. and very dear Sir, 

" Though but yesterday I parted with my beloved 
husband's remains, I must now endeavour to collect my 
wounded mind, as I would not have any of his words fall 
to the ground, and give, if possible, some account of (he 
?,wful, but to him glorious scene. 



PART IV.] MRS * FLETCHER. I8f< 

« Our union increased daily, as did his health and 
strength; his consumptive complaint appeared quite 
removed, and in my eyes the bitterness of death wa* 

stt The work was sweetly prospering, and in a variety 

of circumstances the sun of prosperity shone around us. 

«« For some time before this last illness, his precious 
soul (always alive to God) was particularly penetrated 
with the nearness of eternity ; there was scarce an hour 
jn which he was not calling upon me to drop every thought 
and every care, that we might attend to nothing but drink- 
ing deeper into God. We spent much time in wrestling 
prayer for the fulness of the Spirit, and were led in a 
very peculiar manner, to an act of abandonment (as we 
called it) of our whole selves into the hands of God, to 
do or suffer whatever was pleasing to him. On Thursday, 
August 4th, he was taken up in the work of God from 
three in the afternoon, till nine at night ; when he came 
home, he said, I have taken cold. — Friday and Saturday 
he was but poorly, though he went out part of the day, 
but seemed uncommonly drawn out in prayer. On 
Saturday night his fever first appeared very strong. — I 
begged him not to go to the church in the morning, but 
let a pious brother who was here, preach in the yard ; 
but he told me he believed it was the will of the Lord, 
and that he was assured it was right he should go ; in 
which case I never dared to dissuade him. As I was in 
the morning with a little company of our pious women, 
I begged they would pray that he might be strengthened, 
and that I might have a grain of that faith which supported 
the faithful when their friends were martyred. In read- 
ing prayers he almost fainted away. — I got through the 
crowd, with a friend, and entreated him to come out of 
the desk, as did some others ; but he let us know, in his 
sweet manner, that we were not to interrupt the order 
of God. I then retired to my pew, where all around me 
were in tears. When he was a little refreshed by the 
windows being opened, and a nosegay thrown into ; tbe 

16* 



186 THE LIFE OF [PART IY . 

desk by a friend, he went on ; and afterward going up 
into the palpit, preached with a strength and recollection 
which surprised us all. 

" In his first prayer he said, ' Lord, thou wilt manifest 
thy strength in weakness, we confer not with flesh 
and blood, but put our trust under the shadow of thy 
wings.' 

" His text was from Psalm xxxvi, ' Thou Lord shalt save 
both man and beast ; how excellent is thy mercy, O God : 
and the children of men shall put their trust under the 
shadow of thy wings.' 

" After he had pointed out the Saviour of mankind 
and observed how some by sin had made themselves 
beasts, he showed that the promise, even in that sense 
might be applied to the sinner as well as to the beasts of 
the earth : and in speaking to these, with his usual 
earnestness, he pressed, invited, and entreated them to 
return unto God, enforcing those words of our Lord 
when he came near to Jerusalem, and wept over it — * If 
thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, 
the things which belong to thy peace ! but now they are 
hid from thine eyes.' These words peculiarly pierced 
the hearts of many, as they have since told me. He 
continued to observe, in nearly the following words, 
1 That the wings of the Lord are compared to those of 
an eagle for strength and protection,' Exodus xix. ' I 
bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself.' 
And to those of a hen for love and care, ' Like as a hen 
gathereth her chickens under her wings.' In the Jewish 
tabernacle, where was the Holy of Holies, two cherubim 
were placed, whose extended wings joining together 
overshadowed the mercy-seat. When Christ died upoa 
the cross, his arms were stretched out, and these were 
as wings of love which he opened, and still holds wide 
open to receive all that come unto him ; let us thenj 
when we see his love and power thus united to save and 
Wess us, enter boldly into the Holy of Holies through 



PART IV.] MRS. FLETCHER. 1 87 

the door of divine mercy. A friend threw me some 
flowers to revive me when I was faint, but the mercy 
of the Lord is far more reviving ;— it is this I would hold 
out to you, and drop it into your very bosoms ; may it 
«ink deep there, that you may * taste and see how good 
the Lord is,' and confess that his saving mercy is above 
the richest perfume, for ' he saves both man and beast V 

" After sermon he went up the aisle to the commu- 
nion table, with these words, ' I am going to throw my- 
self under the wings of the cherubim before the mercy- 

The congregation was large, and the service held till 
near two. Sometimes he could scarcely stand, and was 
often obliged to stop for want of power to speak. The 
people were deeply affected. — Weeping was on every 
side. Gracious Lord ! how was it my soul was kept so 
calm in the midst of the most tender feelings ? Notwith- 
standing his extreme weakness, he gave out several 
verses of hymns, and various lively sentences of exhor- 
tation. As soon as the service was over, we hurried 
him away to his bed, where he immediately fainted away. 
He afterward dropped into a sleep for some time, and 
upon waking, cried out with a pleasant smile — ' Now, my 
dear, thou seest I am no worse for doing the Lord's 
work, he never fails me when I trust in him.' After he 
had got a little dinner he dozed most of the evening ; — 
now and then waking (as was usual with him) full of the 
praises of God. That night his fever returned, but not 
so bad as on Saturday ; nevertheless from Sunday his 
strength decreased amazingly. On Monday and Tuesday 
we had a little paradise together ; he lay on a couch in 
the study, and was at times very restless, as to change 
of posture, but sweetly pleasant, and often slept for a 
good while. When awake, he delighted much in hear- 
ing me read hymns and tracts on faith and love. His 
words were all animating, and his patience beyond what 
i can express. When he had any bitter or nauseous 



188 THE LIFE OP [PART iy. 

medicine to take, he seemed to enjoy the cross, remind- 
ing me of a word he used often to repeat, — that our 
business was to seek a perfect conformity to the will of 
God, and then leave Him to give us what comfort he 
saw good. I asked him, if he should be taken from me, 
whether he had any particular directions or orders to 
give me, since I desired to form my whole life thereby. 
He replied, 'No, not by mine, the Holy Ghost shall 
direct thee ; I have nothing particular to say, only that 
the Lord will open all before thee ; — and let not any one 
bring thee into bondage. If I stay with thee, I will keep 
thee from oppression ; but if I should be taken from 
thee, beware.' — I said, Hast thou any conviction the 
Lord is about to take thee ? — He answered, ' No, not in 
particular, only I always see death so inexpressibly near, 
that we both seem to stand as on the verge of eternity.' 
While he slept a little, I laid my trial before the Lord, 
entreating him, if it was his good pleasure, to spare my 
beloved husband a little longer ; but my prayer seemed 
to have no wings. — It was held down, and I could not 
help mingling continually therewith, Lord, give me per- 
fect resignation ! This uncertainty in my own mind made 
me rather tremble, lest the Lord was going to take the 
bitter cup out of my dear's hand, and give it unto me. 
The cup of separation, he had for some weeks before 
very deeply drank of, when I myself was ill of the 
fever. At that time he often passed through the whole 
parting scene, and struggled for the fortitude of perfect 
resignation. Sometimes he would say at that season, ' 
Polly ! shall I ever see the day when thou must be car- 
ried out to be buried ? How will the little things which 
thou wast accustomed to use, and all those which thy 
tender care has prepared for me in every part of the 
house, how will they wound and distress me ! How is 
it ? I think I feel jealousy — I am jealous of the 
worm ! I seem to shrink at giving my dear Polly to 
the worms !' 



PART IV.] 



MRS. FLETCHER. 189 



<< Now all these reflections returned with a mill-stone's 
weight on my heart. I cried to the Lord, and those 
words were deeply impressed on my spirit, ' Where I 
am, there shall my servants be, that they may behold my 
<rlory.' This promise was full of matter as well as unc- 
tion to my soul. It explained itself thus, that in Christ's 
immediate presence was our home, and that we should 
find our reunion in being deeply centred in him. I re- 
ceived it as a fresh marriage for eternity. As such I still 
take, and trust for ever to hold it. All that day, when- 
ever I thought of this expression, ' to behold my glory,' 
it seemed to wipe every tear away, and was as the ring 
by which we were joined anew. 

" Awaking sometime after, he said, 'Polly, I will tell 
you what I have been thinking of — It was Israel's fault 
that they asked for signs ; we will not do so ; but aban- 
doning our whole selves into the hands of God, we will 
there lie patiently before him, assured that he will do all 
things well.' 

" ' My dear love, said I, if ever I have done or said any 
thing to grieve thee, how will the remembrance wound 
my heart, shouldst thou be taken from me !' 

" He entreated and charged me, with inexpressible 
tenderness, not to allow the thought ; declaring his 
thankfulness for our union, in a variety of words, which 
remain written on my heart, as with the adamantine pen 
of friendship deeply dipt in blood. 

" On Wednesday, after groaning all day as it were 
under the weight of the power of God, he told me, he 
had received such a manifestation of the full meaning of 
that word, « God is love,' as he could never be able to 
tell. It Jills me, said he ; it Jills me every moment. O 
Polly! my dear Polly! God is love.' shout, shout aloud— 
Oh ! it so fills me, I want a gust of praise to go to the 
ends of the earth. But it seems as if I could not speak 
much longer ; let us fix on a sign between ourselves, 
ftapping me twice with his dear finger,) now I mean 



190 THE LIfE OF [PART iy. 

( God is love, and we will draw each other into God : 
observe ! by this we will draw each other into God.' 

" Sally coming in, he cried out. « O Sally ! God i s 
love !' shout both of you ; — I want to hear you shout his 
praise. Indeed it was a season of love. All this time, 
the medical friend who attended him with unwearied 
diligence, hoped he was in no danger. He knew it to be 
the fever, but as he had no bad head-ach, much sleep, 
without the least delirium, and an almost regular pulse, 
seldom much quicker than my own, he thought the 
symptoms amazingly mild ; for though the disease was 
commissioned to take his life, yet it seemed so restrained 
by the power of God, that we truly discerned in it the 
verity of those words, Death is yours. 

" On Thursday his speech began to fail. While he 
was able he continued speaking to all who came in bis 
way. Accidentally hearing that a stranger was in the 
house, he ordered her to be called up, though uttering 
two sentences almost made him faint. To his friendly 
Doctor, he would not be silent while he had any power 
of speech ; often saying, ' O Sir, you take much thought 
for my body, give me leave to take thought for your 
soul.' And 1 believe his words will remain with that 
friend for ever. When I could scarcely understand any 
thing he said, I spoke these words, 'God is love I' 
Instantly he catched them, as if all his powers were 
awakened afresh, and broke out in a rapture, ' God is 
love, love, love! O for that gust of praise I want to 
sound.' — Here his dear voice again failed. He was 
restless, and often suffered many ways, but with such 
patience, as none but those who were with him can 
conceive. If I named his sufferings— he would smile, 
and make the sign. 

On Friday, finding his dear body covered with spoty 
I so far understood them, as to feel a sword pierce 
through my soul. As I was kneeling by his bed, with 
my hand in his, entreating the Lord to be with us in this 



„ ltr 1 MRS. FLETCHER. 191 

PART IV.J 

endous hour, he strove to say many things, but could 
tX T pressing my hand, and often repeating the sign, at 
Tit' he breathed out—' Head of the church, be head to 
Ia ife> » When for a few moments I was forced to 
rlvcThim, to gather up some sheets of one of his manu- 

ript « which I feared would be lost —Sally said to him 5 
"mv dear master, do you know me?' He replied, 
» Sally, God will put his right-hand under you. 5 She 

dded,' O my dear master, should you be taken away, 
what a disconsolate creature will my poor dear mistress 
be !' He replied, ' God will be her all in all.' He had 
always delighted much in these words. 



*« Jesu's blood thro' earth and skies, 
Mercy, free, boundless mercy cries ! 



m 



And whenever I repeated them to him, would answer, 
boundless, boundless, boundless ! and in allusion to them, he 
now replied, though with great difficulty, 

" Mercy's full power I soon shall prove, 
Lov'd with an everlasting love." 

On Saturday afternoon his fever seemed quite off, 
and a few Christian friends standing near the bed, he 
reached his hand to each of them, and looking on a 
Minister, who was weeping by him, he said, ' Are you 
ready to assist to-morrow ?' Which recollection of his 
amazed us much, as the day of the week had not been 
named in his room. Most about him could not but 
believe he was better, and would get over it. One said, 
« Do you think that the Lord will raise you up ?' — He 

strove to answer, saying, ' Raise in resur , raise in 

resur ,' meaning in the resurrection. To another 

who asked the same question, he said, ' I leave it all to 
God.' 

" In the evening his fever returned with violence, 
and the mucus falling on the windpipe occasioned him to 
be almost strangled. He suffered greatly ; and it was 



192 THE LIFE OF [PART i>, 

feared the same painful emotion would continue and grow 
more violent to the last. This I felt most exquisitely, 
and cried to the Lord to remove it ; and glory be to his 
name he did remove it ; and it returned no more in that 
way. As night drew on, I thought I perceived him dyin« 
very fast ; his fingers could now hardly move to make 
the sign, (which he seemed scarce ever to forget) and hig 
speech, as it seemed, was quite gone. I said, ' My dear 
creature, I ask not for myself, / know thy soul, but for the 
sake of others ; if Jesus is very present with thee, lift 
thy right-hand.' He did so — I added, ' If the prospect of 
glory sweetly opens before thee, repeat the sign.' He 
then raised it again — and in a half a minute a second 
time, then threw it up with all his remaining strength, as 
if he would reach the top of the bed ! After this his 
dear hands moved no more ; but on my saying, ' Art 
thou in much pain V He answered, ' No.' From this 
time he entered into a state that might be called a kind 
of sleep, though with eyes open and fixed, and his hands 
utterly void of any motion. For the most part he sat 
upright against pillows, with his head a little inclined to 
one side, and so remarkably composed and triumphant 
was his countenance, that the least trace of death was 
scarcely discernible in it. 

" Twenty-four hours, my dearly beloved was in this 
situation, breathing like a person in common sleep.— 
About 35 minutes past ,ten on Sunday night, August 1 1th, 
his precious soul entered into the joy of the Lord, with- 
out one struggle or groan,— in the 56th year of his age. 

" Often he had said, when hearing of happy deaths, 
Well, let us get holy lives, and we will leave the rest to 
God.— But I. who was scarce a minute at a time from 
him night or day, can truly say, that there was the 
strongest reason to believe, 

" No cloud did arise, to darken, the skies, 
Or hide for one moment his Lord from his eyes." 



PART ivj MRS# PLETCHER * l9iJ 

« And here I break off my mournful story ! I could 
sa y abundance more ; but on my bleeding heart his fair 
S icture of heavenly excellence will be for ever drawn.— 
\Vhen I call to mind his ardent zeal, his laborious 
endeavours to seek and save the lost—his diligence in 
the employment of his time— his Christlike condescen- 
sion towards me, and his uninterrupted converse with 
heaven, I may well be allowed to add, my loss is beyond 
the power of words to paint. O Sir, you know I have 
trodden deep waters, but ' all my afflictions were nothing 
compared to this.' Well, I want no pleasant prospect, 
but upwards — nor any thing whereon to fix my hope, but 
immortality. 

"On the 17th, his dear remains were deposited in 
jtfadely Church-yard ; amid the tears and lamentations of 
thousands, who flocked about the bier of their dead Pas- 
tor. Between the house and the church they sung these 
verses, — ■ 

" With heavenly weapons he hath fought 
The battles of the Lord ; 
Finish'd his course, and kept the faith, 
And gain'd the great reward. 

God hath laid np in heaven for him 

A crown which cannot fade ; 
The righteous Judge, at that great day, 

Shall place it on his head." 

>• The service was performed by the Rev. Mr. Hatton, 
Rector of Waters-upton, whom the Lord moved in a 
pathetic manner, to speak to his weeping flock on the sad 
occasion. In the conclusion, at my request, he read the 
■following paper — 

"As it was the desire of my beloved husband to be 
buried in this plain manner, so out of tenderness, he 
begged that I might not be present ; and in all things I 
would obey him. 

17 



194 THE LIFE OF [PART I\. 

" Permit me then to take this opportunity, by the 
mouth of a friend, to bear my open testimony, to the 
glory of God, that I who have known him in the most 
perfect manner, am constrained to declare, 1 never knew 
any one walk so closely in the ways of God as he did.- — - 
The Lord gave him a conscience tender as the apple of 
an eye. He literally preferred the interest of every one 
to his own. He was rigidly just, but perfectly loose from 
all attachment to the world. He shared his all with the 
poor, who lay so close to his heart, that on the approach 
of death, though his speech was so gone that he could 
utter nothing without difficulty, he cried out, O my poor! 

what will become of my poor ! I am dead to ray poor ! 

He was blest with so great a degree of humility as is 
scarcely to be found. — I am witness how often he has 
taken a real pleasure in being treated with contempt ; 
indeed it seemed the very food of his soul to be little 
and unknown. When he said to me, ' Thou wilt write 
a line or two to my brother in Switzerland, if I die.' I 
replied, My dear love, I will write him all the Lord's 
dealings with thee. — 'No no,' said he, 'write nothing 
about me. — 1 desire to be forgotten — God is all !' 

" His zeal for souls I need not tell you, let the labour 
of twenty-five years, and a martyr's death in the con- 
clusion, imprint it on your hearts. — His diligent visitation 
of the sick, laid, to appearance, the foundation of the 
spotted fever, which, by God's commission, tore him from 
you and me : and his vehement desire to take his last 
leave of you, with dying lips and hands, gave (it is sup- 
posed) the finishing stroke, by preparing his blood for 
putrefaction.— Thus hath he lived and died your servant. 
-±-Jlnd will any of you refuse to meet him at God's right- 
hand in that day ? 

" He walked with death always in sight ; and about 
two months ago, he came to me one day and said, ' My 
dear love. I know not how it i? ? but I have a strange 



PART IV.] 



MRS. FLETCHER. 195 



• ession death is very near us, as if it would be some 
'-udden stroke upon one of us ; and it draws out all my 
!oul in prayer that we may be ready.' He then broke 
? ,ut Lord, prepare the soul thou wilt call ; and O stand by 
the poor disconsolate one who shall be left behind. 

<< A few days before his departure, he was filled with 
love in an uncommon manner, saying to me,— ' I have 
had such a discovery of the depth of that word, God h 
love, as I cannot tell thee half, but it Jills me, it //7s me. 

Polly ! my dear Polly, God is love I shout his praise ; 

1 want a gust of praise to reach to the ends of the earth.* 
And the same he testified as long as he had voice, an£ 
continued to testify to the end, by a most lamblike 
•patience, in which he victoriously smiled at death, and 
set his last seal to the glorious truths he had so long 
preached among you. 

" Three years, nine months, and two days, I have pos- 
sessed my heavenly-minded husband ; but now, the sun of 
my earthly joy is set for ever, and my soul filled with an. 
anguish, which only finds its consolation in a tctal aban- 
donment and resignation to the will of God : an exercise 
to which my dear husband and I had of iate been particu- 
larly drawn. When I was asking the Lord if he pleased 
to spare him to me a little longer, the following answer 
was impressed on my mind with great power, and in thr 
accomplishment of this word of promise, / look for our 
reunion, ' Where I am there shall my servants be, thar 
they may behold my glory !' Lord, hasten the hour ! 

" I am, 
(i Rev. and dear Sir, &c. 
"MARY FLETCHER/ 
" The Rfv. Mr. Wesley." 

My anguish was extreme. All outward support seemed 
to be withdrawn ; — appetite and sleep quite failed me, — - 
and even the air, I often thought had entirely lost all ik 
rivifying powers. As 1 never before had any conception 



296 THE LIFE OF [PART ry. 

of the bitter anguish which the Lord saw good to visit 
me with at this season : so I can give no just description 
of it. " Known unto God are all his ways ;" and I was 
assured, even in the midst of my trouble, that all He did 
was well, and that there was a needs be for this heavy 
trial. But what bound all my other trials upon me was, 
I felt continually the keenest accusations from Satan, 
constraining me by every possible suggestion to look at 
my extreme sensibility in suffering, as being deeply 
sinful ! What, thought I, has made this change ! If Jesus 
was my all, should I not feel as keenly the sense of his 
having suffered for me, as I do in the thought of my dear 
husband's kindness, and in the dreadful fppling of my 
separation from him ? — And because I could feel but 
very faint touches of sensible communion with God, I 
was torn as it were in pieces. All my religion seemed 
shrunk into one point; viz. a constant cry. Thy will be 
done .'* I will, yes, I will glorify Thee ! even in this fire. 

Yet it seemed to me I did not glorify him ; — and so 
afraid was I of turning to any human comfort, or stop- 
ping short of all the Lord would have me to do or be, 
that in the midst of this terrible furnace, I can say,— that 
at every moment my conscience was " Quick as the apple 
of an eye, the slightest touch of sin to feel." Yea, my 
spirit was all eye to discern its most distant approach. 
Yet in every thing I seemed to be accused, and also con- 
demned ; so that my soul was indeed sorrowful even unto 

death.] . . 

One morning before I was awake, I heard singing 
voices, as just over my face ; they answered one another 
with these words, 

* This is a fruit of the Spirit that never fails those who abide in the faith, 
even in the darkest hour. Ed. 

+ In all this I believe the pious and well-informed reader will be 
satisfied that, (as the Holy Ghost testifies of Job,) "she Nnned not, .or 
sharged God foolishly." Ed. 



PART 



IV 1 MRS. FLETCHER. 197 



" Weep ye in Zion's deep distress, 
In Zion's sorrow mourn." 



rpjjgn one voice, which I well knew to be that of my 
dearest love, spake in distinct words, and with much 
emphasis — 

" Fight the good fight of faith with mc, 
My fellow-soldier, fight." 

It gave me some little comfort, and animated me to follow 
his bright example. 

One day these words were applied with much power 
to my heart, " These light afflictions, which are but for a 
moment, shall work out for you a far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory." What, said I, did the apostle, 
who had been in the third heaven, and knew well what 
lie said ; — Did he call these afflictions light, when put 
in the scale with that glory ? It was answered in my 
heart, yes, as a bubble ! " compared with the glory that 
>hall be revealed." I got a momentary glimpse of our 
home above, in the celestial city ; and those words were 
spoken through my heart, 

" Heaven is thy inheritance, 

Thou shalt soon remove from hence." 

Very many were these little in-breakings of light, yea, 
often in a day ; — yet my pain was unspeakable. I was 
constantly perplexed with that thought, that a believer 
ran never be in darkness ; that they always " Rejoice 
with joy unspeakable and full of glory." That nothing 
but sin given way to, can damp their joy.* This was au 
inlet to much temptation ; and now, I had no one to 
tell my troubles to ! No partner to bear a share in 
them. In all our spiritual conflicts we had been so en- 
tirely one, that cares by being divided were hushed intc- 

* Yes, temptation can damp their joy ; but only sin can destroy it. Her 
,ov was not destroyed : she had " times of refreshing." Ed. 

17 * 



198 THE LIFE OF [PART iy. 

peace. A word from him would frequently light up as 
it were a candle in my soul ; and was enough to turn 
aside the keenest temptation. But now I trod the wine- 
press alone, and felt my dependence had been too much 
on the creature. I had clung to him as the ivy to the 
oak, and now seemed to be nothing! I saw myself 
left in a howling wilderness alone ! Yet still I could. 
say— 

" With thee I on Zion shall stand, 
Por Jesus hath spoken the word." 

But the Lord seemed to do by me, as by the Canaan* 
itish woman ; He did not answer me ! — I followed, and 
often said in my heart, (reflecting on all my unfaithful- 
ness,) Ah ! " It is not meet to take the children's bread 
and cast it to the dogs !" It seemed I could to all eternity 
have praised him for the least drop of comfort, — and yet 
I felt the power of these words, — 

" A drop will not suffice, 
My soul for all thy fulness cries." 

In the midst of this dreadful conflict I felt some conso- 
lation from the thought, that by the account of his 
precious death, which surely the Lord himself prompted, 
and enabled mc to write, (as I had hardly at the time 
either sense or memory,) I had helped, in a little mea- 
sure, that shout of praise to go forth, which with his 
dying lips, he said he wanted to reach the ends of the 
earth ! And though I have lost my dear husband, and 
felt the force of the '« hour and power of darkness" yet 
through all, I believed I should conquer. So it is with 
me now ; — but, I do not seem as yet to have the privi- 
lege of shouting victory. 

As soon as the funeral was over, I found the dear 
children which my beloved partner had left behind, 
laid upon my mind. I' saw there were many things to 
settle among them respecting the work of God ; sortie 



RT , V J MRS. FLETCHER. 199 

dangerous rocks to avoid, and some needful plans to 
' opose. Therefore before another week passed, I saw 
j^must act among them, and meet the people the same 
as before ;— and though very ill and filled with sorrow., 
the Lord enabled me to do so,— showing me the only 
wa y to bear the cross profitably, was so to carry it as if 
I carried it not. About a fortnight before my dear hus- 
band's last sickness, he was one night at the Wednesday 
meeting, when being greatly affected about me, as I was 
ill at that time, he could hardly get through it. He said 
to me afterward, " My dear, I could scarcely speak to 
the people. I felt I knew not how, as if thy empty 
chair stood by me ! Something seemed to say, we 
should soon be parted ; and I thought, Must 1 meet these 
people, and see my Polly's empty chair always by me ?" 
But now the cup was mine. Yea, and I have drunk it to 
the very dregs ! 

September 21, 1785. Ah! Lord, my soul is ex- 
ceeding sorrowful ! How lonely doth my situation ap- 
pear ! Torn from my dear companion, and made to walk 
in this dreary path ! But this is my greatest weight, I do 
not feel that union with Thee, that would make up all. 
There are indeed moments in which a glimpse of thy love 
seems to unite me to all good, and wipes away every 
tear. But these are transient touches, and I am deeply 
oppressed with that fear that 1 am not approved in thy 
sight, because 1 do not Rejoice evermore ! I well know I 
want a farther plunge into thy sacred will. I am not yet 
•The temple of the Holy Ghost." 

For some time back those words have been much oh. 
my mind, " Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may 
stand in the evil day, and having done all, may stand." I 
have sometimes said, Lord, have I passed that evil day, 
or is it still to come ? And I always felt with submis- 
sion a desire it might not be in death. O Lord ! do all 
thy will upon me, but make me wholly conformable 
*o thy divine nature ! Glorify thyself in thy poor crea- 



200 THE LIFE OF [PART IV. 

ture ! I feel as if soul and body would be divided by 
this terrible wrench ! Yet I acquiesce, fully acquiesce 
in thy divine disposal. Yes, I see and admire thy wis- 
dom ! I bow down to a dispensation I do not clearly 
understand ! The Lord hath done it ! and that shall be 
enough to satisfy me. I remember one of my dear hus- 
band's dying sayings was, — Polly, let us not fear, God is 
love ! What canst thou fear, my dearest, when God is 
love ? — I feel it is the truth ; nevertheless, I do not feel 
perfect rest in that truth, for want of that perfect love 
which casteth out all fear. Nothing will do for me but 
the indwelling Deity! "He that dwelleth in love, 
dwelleth in God, and God in him." 

October 3, 1785. My sorrowful soulwaiteth on thee, 
O Lord I Oh ! what a cloud there is on my whole situa- 
tion ! Three months ago I was raised to the highest pitch 
of human consolation. I often thought all that God could 
give of temporal comforts was poured upon me. When- 
ever I was hearing any one speak of the afflictions they 
were under, I used to be humbled to the very dust. 
Something would suggest,— Ah ! you may well bear 
your crosses, and rejoice that ye have such a treasure 
continually augmenting in your bosom ; but let God only 
lay his hand on your husband, and see then whether you 
will bless him ? It seemed to me, that I so honoured 
any of my fellow-creatures who were in trouble, that I 
rould kiss the very dust from their feet, and was often 
tilled with astonishment, why such a wretch as me was 
spared their bitter cup ! But now I drink it indeed : yet 
at the same time I can say, I see it my privilege to « fol- 
low the Lamb whithersoever he goeth," without ask- 
ing where, or to what new cross he will lead me. 
what should I do were it not for the privilege of pouring 
out my soul in prayer ! Lord, come and make thin« 

abode in me I . . , 

One day when I had some reason to think this house 

would be wanted, and that I must quit it, I began to con- 



P\RT IV-] MRS * FLETCHER. 201 

«ider where I had best remove to. I reflected on my 
dear husband's words, when he said a little before he lost 
his speech, " Stay here, my dear ;— I do not speak for 
the people only, but for thy sake. Thou wilt never be 
s o well settled again. Here thou wilt be most out of the 
way from many things which would be a cross and a 
hinderance to thee." It was therefore very painful for 
m e to think of taking one single step, in any thing con- 
trary to his advice. And yet I must own, had he not all 
along said I must stay here, I believe I could not have 
resolved so to do, for every day brought me some cutting 
trial. — A new ministry, a new plan for the work, and 
various causes of anxiety and trouble. 

But now it appeared I must remove. I began to think 
of one place and another, but every one seemed to bear 
the gloom of night. I could see no spot in the creation 
for me to rest in. A peculiar inward feeling also, seemed 
to turn from every place I could think of, as if the smile 
of God was not on my going there. I said, Lord, show 
me what I shall do ! Only show me what is Thy will ! 
I thought on two places the most likely ; and had some 
desire to draw a lot concerning them. I had the paper 
in my hand in order so to du, when the remembrance 
of my dearest love was presented strongly to my mind, 
as speaking again those words, <; Polly, do not let us look 
for signs; let us leave ourselves in the hand of God." 
I felt an immediate light of faith, and throwing the paper 
out of my hand, I took up the Bible, intending to read, 
and for the present to drop every other thought. It 
opened on those words — " God shall choose our inherit- 
ance for us." All my spirit acquiesced, and I answered, 
" Yea, Lord ! Thou hast chosen for my dear the bright 
mansions above ; and thou wilt choose for me all my 
wanderings below." There seemed for a moment such 
a communion opened between the family below and that 
above, as I cannot express. 



202 THE LIFE ©F 



[part iy. 



Soon after this, I received a message from Mr. Kiner- 
son, letting me know that I should never be turned out 
of the house, but might rent it ; which I received as an 
answer from the Lord directing my way. It also brought 
to my mind a dream I had some years before I married. 
■ — I dreamed a man came to me to offer me some tithes. 

^replied, " Friend, I have nothing to do with tithes, 

iMiave no concern in any living. But soon after, I said 
t6%me of my family, Hannah, I am going away, I havtr 
a &11 from the Lord, — I must go." But again I though 
I Jmow not where, not even into what country. How- 
ever, the way of duty is the way of safety. I will set out 
a%d God will lead me. Immediately I left Cross-hall 
aha after walking a few paces, I thought I was carried 
in a moment, I knew not how, and set down in a church- 
yard — and some one said to me, You are to enter into 
this' church. I went in, and walking up the aisle, I 
heard a kind of groan, and said, That is the sound of 
death. When I came out of the church, I entered into 
a house which was just by it. As I was on the steps, i| 
was said inwardly to me, — This is the habitation which 
God hath chosen for you. I answered, O no; I cannol 
live here. It is the order of God for me to live in York- 
shire. I went into some of the rooms, and found in on< 
I passed through a man and woman. In the next was j 
young woman with a child on her lap. She appearei 
dying of a consumption, and in great conflicts. We sooi 
entered into conversation, and she seemed very spiritual 
After a time she told me, I must come and live here, 
and here abide. I replied, " O no, I live at Cross-hal 
in Yorkshire ; and have a great family, and many caft 
there." But, said she, it is the will of God to bring yoi 
here.— There is work for you to do. She added, do nol 
be frightened ; God will make you a comfortable habit* 
tion.— I said, Have you the Gospel here ? She replied 
Yes.— And who, said I, is the minister that brought ij 
among you ? She replied. He is not here now. Then 



PART IV.] MRS. FLETCHER. 203 

d I is your present minister ? She showed me 
^anuTof three syllables ;— but though I read it over 
^Tover—I could only remember the two last,—" ner- 

aD n » i f e lt myself in great anguish and sorrow of mind, 

though I could not assign any cause,) and said, I must 
*o away, 1 cannot stay here. I do not know that man 
and woman.— I cannot live with them. She replied, 
« That man and woman will go away when you com*. 
But here is a work for you to do, and you must abide 
here. Do not be frightened ; God will make you a c<an- 
fortable habitation." Being determined however to re- 
turn home, I went down stairs, and seeing a coach ready 
to be hired, I beckoned to it*? .the man opened the door, 
and as I was stepping in, he said, Where will you be 
carried to ? I strove to say, Cross-hall in Yorkshire, 
but could not. Then I strove to name various habita- 
tions I had formerly lived in, but could remember the 
name of none — As he still persevered in his questions, 
I at last stepped back, and pointing to the house I came 
out of, I said, " That is my home, and God hath taken 
the remembrance of every other out of my heart." 

I knew nothing of the situation of any thing in Madely 
when I had this dream — but when, some years after, I 
told it to my dear Mr Fletcher, he said, " There was a 
man and woman who lived with me at that time , — and a 
young woman, A. C. who was very useful in the work, 
to which she proved a nursing mother. — She died of a 
consumption, in which she had many conflicts." I said, 
Was there a minister here whose name ended with — 
nerson? He replied, " No." But now I understand it all. 
— Had 1 before remembered the whole name, I should 
at once have known this dream would be fulfilled at mv 
dear husband's death, as Mr. Kenerson was the patron, 
and his son now became our Vicar. — -My dear Mr. Fletch- 
er always said, If he died he believed I was to stay here ; — 
And there are some circumstances which reconciled me 
*o to do. 



204 THE LIFE OP [PART iy. 

First, I never was in any situation in which I had so 
much opportunity of doing good, (according to my small 
abilities) as in this place, and that in various ways, public 
and private ; and to many who live at a distance also. 
These are providentially thrown in my way, and I find 
such clear leadings of the Spirit in conversing with them, 
that, (painful as many circumstances are,) I am constrain- 
ed to say, If I choose for the work of God, here I must 
abide and fix my home.* 

Secondly. Here I have a great many sweet lively 
souls to converse with. My meetings are more satis- 
factory to myself than in any place I ever yet was in ; and 
I still feel it suited to meffcas a soil in which my soul 
grows in. 

Thirdly. It suits my temporal affairs, this house 
being cheap ; and several other circumstances also are 
advantageous. 

Fourthly. I never found any other part agree as well 
with my health as this has done. From a child I could 
never live in London, nor in any close place ; and here 
I have had better health than ever before : — Only at thij 

* At the last Conference which Mr. Fletcher attended, viz. at Leeds, 
August, 1784, (about a year before his death,) I had the privilege of sitting 
very near him. About the middle of the Conference he rose, and address- 
ed Mr. Wesley respecting his Parish. He said, I fear my successor will 
not be interested in the work of God, and my flock may suffer. I have done 
what I could. I have built a Chapel in Madely Wood, and I hope, Sir, you 
will continue to supply it, and that Madely may still be part of the Circuit. 
If you please, I should be glad to be put down in the Minutes as a Super- 
numerary ! Mr. Wesley could hardly bear this, and the Preachers were 
melted into tears Turning to them, Mr. Fletcher expressed his hope (hat 
they would feed his sheep, and nourish them with the same truths which 
they had been used to hear. How wonderfully did the Lord provide for 
them when he was pleased to remove their angelic Pastor ! " My dear," 
said he to Mrs. Fletcher, " When you marry me, you must marry my 
Parish." She did so; and as the new Vicar did not reside, and as he had 
a great respect for Mrs. Fletcher, she was allowed to recommend the 
Curate, whom the Vicar invariably appointed, according to that recom- 
mendation. The work of God has thus continued, and proceeded,, for 
thirty years in peace. May it never be interrupted ! Ed, 



PART HI-] NRS - ^ LET0HEK - 206 

I find the waves of sorrow have thrown me some 

^^"ne-rer my eternal home. Truly also, that part of 

m° dream, (the sound of death,) hath been accomplished 

,n wVuld^nTknow the king of terrors ? Let them look 
on the corpse of a beloved husband, or tender friend, 
and there discern the consequences of sin !— For a be- 
liever to look at death, as seizing on himself, has compa- 
ratively no terror ! In the midst of the most pleasant 
-rene my life had ever exhibited, I sometimes said, " I 
think my love, I am selfish : it seems as if I should not 
fear to die and leave thee ! I am deeply sensible, how- 
ever, of all the pain thou wouldst feel.— Yet it seems as 
if we should not be divided even by death." But now 
the scene is turned ! It is my eyes which must for ever 
have before them that tremendous night. Oh ! what do 
I feel ! Thy -vill, O Lord.' be done .' 

From this time I have been more and more convinced, 
my inheritance is appointed of the Lord, and that this is 
the spot I am to fix on, at least for the present ; and I 
rather believe I shall change no more,— but that where 
he died, I shall die also. During this heavy night of sor- 
row, (attended with such aggravating circumstances as it 
is not needful tp explain,) I have also seen an amazing 
mixture of the tender care and fitherly protection of my 
God. He withholds his rough wind in the day of his east 
-jjind ; and will lay no more on his poor creatures than hi* 
power and goodness will enable them to bear. I know 
assuredly, that my bereavement has wrought for the good 
of my soul. I am, notwithstanding my inward trials, and 
deep sensibility of my loss, truly enabled to praise God 
even for the severity of the stroke. Yes, I love His 
will ! I love His cross ! I am, I will be devoted to His 
glory ! And if that can be promoted by my keen anguish, 
I will delight in suffering all His wisdom shall appoint ! 

I see also the goodness of the Lord in our bringing 
^ally Lawrence with us here. The day we were mar- 

18 



2M THE LIFE OF [part IV, 

vied, as soon as we returned from the church, and went 
up stairs to ask a blessing on our union, she came into 
i he room/and falling on her knees before my dear hus- 
band, she entreated him not to part her from her dear 
mistress, who had brought her up. He told her he ne- 
ver would : and now she is made to me a great comfort, 
having all the usefulness of a housekeeper, added to the 
affection of the tenderest child. 

The Lord has also answered my dear husband's pray- 
ers with regard to the work of the Lord, beyond all ex- 
pectation. When he repeatedly expressed his desire 
that I should stay here, I replied, O how can I bear the 
place without thee ? How can I bear to stay and see 
perhaps a carnal ministry ? He answered, " Thou dost 
not know what God may do. — Perhaps there may never 
be a carnal ministry here." And so it proved. The 
Rev. Mr. Gilpin and his wife, being on the spot, were at 
that season kind and tender friends to me, and Mr. Kener- 
son desired him to supply the church, till he should re- 
turn to his own living, — which was not for some months. 
The Lord then provided for us a precious young man, 
Mr. Melville Home, who had travelled some time in con- 
nexion with Mr. Wesley ; and concerning whom my dear 
Mr. Fletcher had (before his illness) expressed a desire 
that he might be his successor. We have also the Me- 
thodist Preachers, and their labours are blessed. Bro- 
therly love takes root and flourishes among us. The 
work goes on well ; fresh converts are continually brought 
in, and several have with flowing eyes declared, that the 
words they once slighted, now seem to rise in judgment 
against them. They bow to the truth, and are constrained 
to acknowledge, concerning their deceased Pastor, He 
being dead, yet speaketh. 

The Lord hath also looked on my temporal affairs, be- 
yond what I could have expected. I observed, soon after 
my marriage, that all was now made quite easy. I look- 
er! on the promise a* already fulfilled, having in Layton 



PART IV.] MRS - FLETCHER. ^< 

a deal more than would pay all. Some hundreds 
'' X S °° however still on interest, though we had lessened 
Tht-um, while my dear and I were together. But soon 
,fter he was taken from me, I received a letter from a 
person of whom 1 had borrowed some years before a 
hundred and fifty pounds, that he wanted it directly ;— 
and I had at this season a good deal to pay on other ac 
counts. As I wished to be free, for the remainder of my 
, hort days, from unnecessary care, 1 had a desire that the 
estate atLayton-stone should be sold, and the demands all 
settled at once. I found however that could not be done 
without loss— and therefore proposed to pay yearly all 
I could out of my income, which was now increased by 
the tender care of my dear husband. But my youngest 
brother, William Bosanquet, whom I had not seen for 
some years, came down on a visit to me. He expressed 
the greatest sympathy and tenderness towards me in this 
time of trial ; and after staying with me some days, gene- 
rously supplied me with all the cash I then needed. Some 
months after, an uncle dying without leaving me any- 
thing, (and indeed I did not think I had any right to ex- 
pect it,) my brothers wrote me word, that they were 
sorry I was not remembered in the will ; — And my 
youngest brother desired me to accept of five hundred 
pounds, (or more if I wanted it) to settle all my affairs. 
Here was the exact fulfilment of Mrs. Clapham's impres- 
sion concerning us ! [see Page, 161. J This very bro- 
ther whom she then saw, (though at that time there was 
not the least reason to think of any such thing,) did after 
ward, as it was represented to her, bring me many smaller 
sums, and at last one so large as to remove all burdens 
at once from my shoulders ! And on January, 1787, 1 
wrote in my diary, 1 now owe no man any thing but love . 
my income is quite clear, and / have, according to the. 
promise, Great plenty of silver ! 



FND OF THE FOURTH TART. 



PART THE FIFTH 

■tier settlement at Madely, — and thoughts on eommmuo,; 
with happy spirits. 

December 15, 1785. 



LtJLY soul is exceeding sorrowful. I feel the loss of 
my dearest husband in a manner I cannot express. Foup 
months are cow elapsed since I sustained that dreadful 
scene, yet it seems as if it was but yesterday. Nothing 
can comfort me but the blessing promised in those words, 
■' I and my Father will come and make our abode with 
you." Nothing short of that baptism of the Holy Ghost 
can heal and satisfy my wounded soul. But I will 
endeavour to recollect the blessings which attend even 
my melancholy situation, and strive by steps of thank- 
fulness to raise my heart from gratitude to exulting 
praise. 

First, I have the comfort of knowing my dear love 
is in glory. He hath proved the victory, — his " last 
enemy is destroyed !" Death shall no more threaten him 
with the cold grave ; — It is conquered for ever, and shall 
be " swallowed up in victory." 

Secondly, I had the consolation of being with him to 
the last moment, and hearing him so long as he could 
-peak, express how comfortable he was both inward and 
outward ; praising God often for the comfortable attend- 
ance he had in the needful hour, and many times sa\ ing 
to me, " I am most sweetly filled, but I do not seem for 
much speaking ; I am drawn inward." 

Thirdly, I rejoice that he told me, " God would open 
all my way before me ;" — and with his last blessing, gave 
me to the Lord, saying, " Head of the church, be head 
to my wife !" 



PART V.] MRS * LETCHER. -SUiJ 

Fourthlv. He feels no more from the fear of losing 
me Perhaps he is nearer to me than ever ! Perhaps 
he sees me continually, and under God guards and keeps 
nie. Perhaps he knows my very thoughts. The above 
reflections, though under a perhaps, give me some help ; 
but could they be confirmed by reason, and above all by 
Scripture, they would yield me much consolation. I will 
trv if I can find this solid ground for them. 

It appears to me noway contrary to reason to believe 
that the happy departed spirits see and know all they 
would wish, and are divinely permitted to know. In 
this Mr. Wesley is of the same mind ; (from whose 
writings I shall borrow some of my ideas,) and that they 
are concerned for the dear fellow-pilgrims whom they 
have left behind. I cannot but believe they are ; and 
though death is the boundary we cannot see through, they 
who have passed the gulf may probably see us. Some 
small in-ects can see but a little way ; an apple would 
appear to them a mountain, but we can see a thousand 
of them at once, crawling on what we call a small spot 
of earth. When an infant is born into this world, how 
many senses, till then locked up, are on a sudden brought 
into action, and could the child reflect, a variety of new 
ideas would be awakened by which it would discern such 
a capacity of becoming useful and comfortable to its 
mother, as it never before had any conception of! It 
could have no communion with her but by one sense, that 
of feeling ; but now it is enabled both to see, hear, and to 
make itself heard by her. There was an apparent 
separation from the mother ; but in reality, it has gained 
a more valuable possession, which every day increases 
it* ability of entering into her thoughts, and bearing a 
part in all her feelings. And may we not suppose if the 
u>e of sight and hearing, as well as the powers of under 
standing, are so improved by our birth into this lower 
world, that some powers analogous to the above are at 
least, equally opened on the entrance of a spirit into p 

18 * 



210 THE LIFE OF [PART v. 

heavenly state ; though perhaps small in the beginning, 
like the infant compared with the measure that is to 
follow ? 

Nor doth it seem contrary to reason to suppose a spirit 
in glory can turn its eye with as much ease, and look on 
any object below, as a mother can look through a window 
and see the actions of her children in a court underneath 
it. If bodies have a language by which they can convey 
their thoughts to each other, though sometimes at a dig- 
tance, have spirits no language, think you, by which they 
can converse with our spirits, and by impressions on the 
mind, speak to us as easily as before they did by the 
tongue ? And what can interrupt either the presence, 
communion, or sight of a spirit ? 

" Walls within walls no more its passage bar, 
Than unopposing space of liquid air." 

But may not our reasonable ideas he much strength- 
ened by Scripture ? Some encouragement on this head 
I have lately drawn from the account of Elijah and Elisha, 
'though I do not offer this as a proof, but rather as an 
illustration,) for as Elijah was to enter glory without 
passing through death, it is probable he was favoured 
before with a more than common intercourse and com- 
munion with the world of spirits, as we see in the works 
of Providence there is a gradual ascent ; and I the rather 
believe this from some passages in his story. Near the 
lime of his translation, it was revealed to the sons of the 
prophets, who said to Elisha, Knowest thou that thy 
master shall be taken from thy head to-day? But to 
Elijah himself perhaps it was revealed long before, and 
it seems to me, he referred to this when he was in the 
desert of Arabia, under the Juniper-tree, 1 Kings, chap, 

six. where he requested for himself that he might die, 

saying (to this effect) " It is enough, Lord, I am not 
better than my fathers." The prophets before me have 
sealed thy truth with their blood, and why should I be 
exempt from the common lot of man 1 I had rather die 
and come to Thee now ? Why should I live any longer 



„ t , 1 MRS; FLETCHER. 211 

PART V.J 

hi«t enabled me to maintain thy cause against the 
iorthippe" of Baal ; yet my word hath little weight 

th them. " They have slain thy prophets, and I only 
n m left and they seek my life to take it away." Let 
[hem have it, for it is far better for me to depart and to 
be with thee. However, quite resigned to the will oi 
God. he lays him down to sleep, till awaked by an angel 
of the Lord, who bids him arise, and take the refresh- 
ment a watchful Providence had provided for him. Here 
,we have no account of any alarming fear. He doth not., 
like Daniel, fall down as one dead, nor like Zachariah 
and the shepherds, become sore afraid ; but after a 
moderate repast, he lies down to sleep again, and then 
receives a second visit from his bright messenger, for 
aught we see, with the same steady calmness as before. 
From which, I am led to suppose, he was accustomed to 
-uch communications. 

When his faith had gathered strength by his miraculous 
preservation, forty days and nights without food, full of 
holy expectation he arrives at Horeb, waiting a further 
manifestation of the glory of God, as Moses, the giver 
of the law, had done in this very place before him. — Nor 
can we suppose this illustrious restorer of the law could 
be totally forgetful of that prayer, " Lord, I beseech 
thee, show me thy glory !" The place would remind him 
of the great discoveries made there. What intercourse 
he might have with the spirit of Moses we know not, but 
it is certain they knew each other some time after on 
3Iount Tabor. Waiting thus, like his great predecessor, 
for a time, the glory of the Lord was displayed before 
him, and the question put, " What dost thou here, 
Elijah ?" — In his answer to which, he seems to intimate, I 
have nothing to do here. Israel has departed from thy 
ways, and why should 1 abide on earth any longer. Let 
me now come up. As a pledge his prayer is heard, he 
is commanded to anoint Elisha to remain a prophet in his 
room. — And when the appointed time was come, walking 
with Elisha,. he seems desirous of being alone, (perhaps 



212 THE LIFE OF [PART V. 

the powers of darkness" now made their last assault 
endeavouring to shake his faith with regard to the great 
event just ready to take place,) and bids his friend again 
and again to tarry behind. But Elisha, unwilling to lose 
any part of his blessing, answers, " As the Lord liveth 
and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." lie then 
asks him, What shall I do for thee before I am taken 
awry ? Elisha answers, " Let a double portion of thy 
spirit be upon me." To which Elijah replies, " Thou 
hast asked a hard thing." Now if a double portion of 
holiness whs all Elisha meant, it was an odd answer, for 
we know there are no limits to that petition. We may 
ask as much of the nature of God as we please, and he 
will do •' exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or 
think." And no doubt Elijah knew enough of the mind 
of God to know that. But might he not mean, let me 
have the two portions of thy spirit, not only thy com- 
munion with God, but let my intellectual sight be opened 
as thine. Let me also discern the heavenly company 
wherewith we are surrounded, and commune with " the 
spirits of just men made perfect," though as yet I only 
by faith behold the Gospel day ? 

This therefore did seem a hard thing, for as Elisha was 
to die like other men, the prophet might not know 
whether this favour was to be granted to him or not; 
and therefore, as referring to the thing itself, he say*,; 
(as it were) " If thou seest me when I am taken from 
thee," when the spiritual change hath passed upon me, 
then it shall be so, and then thy inward sight will be 
opened. But if 1 become invisible to thee, as to the 
sons of the prophets who stand afar off to gaze, it shall 
not be so. It is not the will of God concerning thee. 
But the " effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man 
availed." Elisha saw both him and his heavenly convoy, 
while the sons of the prophets saw neither, and there- 
fore went on to the mountains to seek Elijah. And that 
this supernatural sight remained with Elisha, we have 
season to believe, for being in Dothan, and surrounded 



PART 



y 1 MRS. FLETCHER. 213 

■n. .rnt host come to take away his life, his servant 
w !' t Sm " Uas, master ! what shall we do ?» The 
prophet at once answers, « They are more that be with 
P than they that be with them;" and adds, "Lord, 
„' r enthe young mans eyes, that he may see!' And 
'•'the Lord opened the young man's eyes, and he saw, 
1P d behold the mountain was full of chariots and horses 
of fire round about Elisha." It is remarkable this spirit 
which re^ed on Elisha was more conspicuous thm that 
which rested on Elijah, -perhaps to prevent the thought, 
(hough the man who was to enter heaven alive, was thus 
favoured, no other must expect it.— Nay, but God, who 
delight- to confer hi? greatest favours on the weakest 
objects, can confer on us all, that which he bestowed on 
Elijah and Elisha. And, if under that dark dispensation, 
why not in this Gospel day, concerning which it is fore- 
told, " Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall 
dream dreams ?" 

The Apostle tells us, " We are not come to mount 
Sinai," where Israel both saw the power, and heard the 
voice of God ; but to mount Zion, where we have com- 
munion " with the general assembly of angels, the 
church of the first-born, the spirits of just men made 
perfect, with Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant ;" 
yea, and have access " to God, the Judge of all." And 
were we better acquainted with the privileges of our 
dispensation, we should become in a more full m:snner 
inheritors " with the saints in li^ht." But though it is 
allowed we may have communion with angels, various are 
the objections raised against the belief of our communion 
with that other part of the heavenly family, the disem- 
bodied xjnrits of the just. 

I sh.dl consider these objections one by one. Lordj 
help me in so doing ! Let me at least strive to compre- 
hend something of " the length, and breadth, and depths 
3i)d heighth of the great victory obtained for us eve** 



214 THE LIFE OF [PART V. 

death ;" give me to see a little into that truth, " We are 
brought from mount Sinai to mount Zion. 

Objection the first. If a good spirit loves those which 
it loved before, and is acquainted with all their proceed- 
ings, will not the sins and miseries of those they thus 
know and love, render them unhappy, or at least mar 
their happiness in some degree ? I answer, there are 
two kind^ of love. — If the persons they loved continue 
sinners, there will doubtless be a separation of spirit, yet 
I believe a remembrance and a pity will continue. It j s 
said of the Almighty, that " it repented the Lord he had 
made man," and that " it grieved him at the heart ;" and 
again, thai " He was grieved with their manners in the 
wilderness forty years." Nevertheless his own immuta- 
ble happiness was not interrupted thereby. Now as the 
saints yet on earth are made partakers of the divini- 
nature, and much more " the spirits of just men mad* 
perfect," so I should imagine their happiness would, in 
that respect, remain as immutable as that of the holy 
angels did, when so many of their once dear companion 
they now daily behold as devils. I cannot let it into my 
thoughts that ignorance makes up any part of celestial 
glory, or that forgetfulness can be entered into by thei* 
nearer approach to Him, " before whom all things are 
open and manifest:" and "in whom is no darknert 
at all." 

But if an entire alienation of affection from the wicked 
should be needful, that is no proof it is the same with 
the righteous ; for if the sins of obstinate sinners would 
afflict them, the growth of grace in the righteous would 
augment their joy : and our Lord himself tells us, " there 
is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth." If 
you say, — -but this joy is only among the angels ; I answer, 
Can we suppose those faithful attendants on the heirs of 
salvation so carefully to conceal this joy within their own 
bosoms, as to exclude the heavenly spirits who stand in & 
much nearer relation to us ? Can we believe they have 



mV 1 MRS. FLETCHEh. 216 

I' ART V.J 

•ill their joys in common ? No, no ; in the church 
of Jerusalem they proved that " great grace was upon 
them all," by their community of goods. And shall our 
narrow hearts let in the thought that they have not all 
their joy? in common in the church above ? Yea, verily, 
.« the general assembly of angels, the church of the first- 
born," and " the spirits of just men made perfect," are 
but one innumerable company, concerning whom it may 
well be said, 

" Lift your eyes of faith, and see, 
Saints and angels join'd in one ! 
What a countless company, 

Stands before yon dazzling throne !" 

If then there is joy throughout all the realms above, 
yea " more joy over one sinner that repenteth, than over 
the ninety and nine which went not astray !" how evident 
it is to an impartial eye, that the state both of the one and 
the other must be known there, together with the pro- 
«re?s of each individual. 

Objection the second. Is not a spirit divested of the 
body, become of a quite different nature from what it 
was before, so as to be incapable of the same feelings ? 
1 answer. Certainly no, the spirit is the man. The spirit 
of my dear husband loved and cared for me, and longed 
above every other desire for my spiritual advancement. 
N'ow if it were the body, why doth it not love me still ? 
Vou answer, Because it is dead. That is to say, the 
•pirit is gone from it ; therefore, that which loved me is 
gone from it. And what is that but the spirit, which 
actuated the body, as the clockwork does the hand which 
tells the hour ? It therefore appears quite clear to me, 
that every right affection, sentiment, and feeling of mind, 
we have been exercised in here, will remain in the spirit 
just the same immediately after death. Nevertheless, as 
with the righteous heavenly light and love will daily grow 
stronger, and with the wicked will be an increasing dark- 
ness, so there may be, perhaps, in a few days, a much 
greater change on the newly glorified spirit, than in the 



216 THE LIFE OF [PART v. 

understanding of a child in seven years. The point 
therefore to be considered is, Will not a continuance and 
growth in the heavenly state, erase those affections and 
ideas so strongly impressed on the spirit at its first 
entrance therein ? To which I reply, as spiritual union 
arises from a communication of the love which flows 
from the heart of Christ, I cannot but believe a nearer 
approach to its centre, and a fuller measure of that divine 
principle, must increase and not diminish the union 
between kindred souls ; and that their change will consist, 
not in the loss, but in the improvement of all that ia 

eood. 

Whatever agrees with the nature of heaven, cannot be 

destroyed, but increased, by their abode therein. Now 

are not love and gratitude natives of heaven, which dwell 

for ever there ? If in our present state an abundance of 

grace is poured out on the soul, what is the effect ? Doth 

it make us forgetful of kindnesses received ? Doth it not 

rather raise the soul to such a pitch of gratitude, that it 

is ready to see favours where really there are none? 

And shall not the same love, when perfected in heaven, 

have the same effect in a more perfect degree ? The 

mistake lies here ; we forget that Christian love and 

union below are the same in kind, though not in degree, 

with those above ; and we might as well suppose whe^ 

we enter into the realms of light, that we shall plunge 

into darkness for want of the natural sun, as to auppost 

Christian love and union must be destroyed by an abode 

in that kingdom, where the very element we bread*) 

sh-dl be eternal love. Doubtless we shall know, and 

gratefully acknowledge, the ministering spirits who have 

served us here, and be sensible that gratitude is unmorj* 

and does not change its sentiments with its place . I think 

all this is clear from those words of onr Lord < Makef, 

yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, 

that when ye fail on earth, they" (viz. those whom you 

have helped,) "may receive you into everlastu^ hah- 

i&tions." 



.„,„! MRS. FLETCHER. 217 

PART V.J 

nbiection the third. But are they not so taken up 

Admiring Jesus, as to lose every other affection m 

J;;*; fanswer^That love of Jesus which fills the 

oU l With the admiration of his graces, is a love begotten 
bv that which reigns in the heart of Christ : himself ; con- 

Jauentlv. it w of the same nature. But is the love of 
TX« a barren and inactive love ? Did it produce in our 
Lord such an enjoyment of his own pure nature,— or 
,„ch a shutting up in the glories and delights ot the 
Trinity, as to render him forgetful of his creatures ? Or 
did it "bring him down to "die for his enemies, and 
receive gifts for the rebellious ?" When a powerful 
effusion of grace is poured out on our souls, are we not 
then most willing and ready to help our neighbour, and 
to cry out with that good woman, Jane Muncy, " Methinks 
I am all spirit ! I have no rest day or night but in gather- 
ing souls to God." Surely then we may with safety be- 
lieve, that a holy unembodied spirit feels the same effect 
from a fuller effusion of the same love,. and that as soon 
as he hears that word, " I will give thee many things to 
be faithful over," he immediately enters more fully than 
ever into the joy of his Lord, which is the joy of doing 
his creatures good. 

Objection the fourth. But though it may be allowed 
that the angels are ministering spirits to the saints, in 
honour of their Lord who hath taken our nature upon 
him, we do not know but the spirits of just men made 
perfect, being of a higher order by their near relation 
to their Head, may be exempt from that servitude. I 
answer, — To this objection may not those words of our 
Lord be applied, " Ye know not what manner of spirit 
ye are of? He that will be greatest, let him be servant," 
saith Jesus Christ, who came himself " not to be minis- 
tered unto, but to minister ; and if our Lord washed our 
feet," shall we be above the same employment ? Jesus 
our master, though in his glorified state, calls himself the 
" Shepherd of hjs sheep," and walks with jealous care 

19 



21o THE LIFE OF [PART \. 

amidst his « candlesticks of gold, holding the stars in his 
right-hand ;" and 1 can no more believe the divinest 
spirit in glory above the service of mankind, than I can 
believe there is pride in heaven. Abraham is repre- 
sented as receiving Lazarus to his bosom, and as giving a 
mild answer even to a damned spirit ! And when souls 
at the foot of the altar cried How long ? They were. 
told " to wait till their fellow-servants came also." Did 
they not then remember their fellow-servants ? When 
the heart is full of grace, it delights in the meanest office, 
and feels pleasure in yielding happiness even to an 
insect. We are sensible no part of our worship is more 
pleasant in the sight of God than obedience, and no em- 
ployment more delightful to the saints than that of pro- 
moting the glory of God. Now the Lord hath said of 
his creatures, " I have created thee for my glory ; I have 
formed thee for my praise !" Shall not then the blessed 
spirits be very zealous in promoting that glory ? The 
glory of God and our interest are inseparably one. And 
are they not " one spirit with the Lord V And is not 
their highest delight in that in which he most delights, 
which is the salvation of his people ? So that an exemp- 
tion from serving the church would rather create pain* 
than give satisfaction. 

Again, the highest honour that can be conferred on a 
creature, is to have the nearest resemblance to its creat- 
ing Head. Now he hath said to the believer, " I will 
dwell in you, — 1 will come and make my abode with 
you." The soul who hath felt a small degree of pure 
love, can answer this objection at once from the feelings 
of hi3 own heart. The language of which is, / love him 
continually, and therefore I will feed his lambs. 

Objection the fifth. But as Paradise is a place, as well 
as a state, and finite beings are not omnipresent, any 
more than omnipotent, how can they be there and here 
in the same moment ? I answer, — I do not suppose they 
CRn , — Bvit if I were to tell you of i» minister who daily 



I'ART v.] 



MRS. FLETCHER. 219 



4ted his flock, inquired into all their concerns, and 
knew their whole situation, would you say it was impos- 
sible, because he lives in that house, which is his home, 
and he cannot be in two places at the same time ? And 
V et it is certain we are perfectly acquainted with the 
situation of many, who do not live with us in the same 
house. If we see them but once a week, our shallow 
capacities can take in all they tell us of their past and 
present state. But if instead of waiting for the slow and 
imperfect conveyance of words, we could by a cast of the 
eve read every thought in a moment, and without labour 
visit them as easily as the sun shines in at their windows, 
rthough it still remains in its proper place,) our acquaint- 
ance would be much more perfect. We are now in the 
body, and have senses and faculties suited thereto • 
therefore our human eye can at once measure the bedv 
of our child, and discern every wound or bruise, or even 
a speck of dirt thereon. And have not spirits faculties 
Edited to spirits, by which we may suppose the;;, can as 
easily discern your soul, as you could discern their body 
when they were in the same state as yourself? And 
may there not be a way by which a spirit actually before 
the throne of God, may still see and serve the soul* 
committed to its care, supposing them to act as minister- 
ing spirits. 

I ask, If you had never heard of a looking-glass, would 
you understand me if I said, though you stand at one end 
of that long gallery, and I at the other, with my back to- 
wards you, I can discern your every action and motion, 
and know every change ? And yet such a knowledge the 
looking-glass would convey to me. Now if all things on 
earth are patterns or shadows of those above, may not 
something analogous to the glass represent to the world 
of spirits as just a picture of the changes of posture in 
the spirit, as the glass does those of the body ? Some 
have supposed the appearance or representation of every 
soul still in the body to be constantly seen in heaven. 
That this may be without the knowledge of the person 



220 THE MFE OF [PART ▼. 

concerned is evident ; because Ananias knew nothing, till 
God said to him (speaking of Saul,) — " Behold, he pray- 
eth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias com- 
ing in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive 
his sight. Various dreams of pious persons, who have 
thought they saw their appearances in paradise, over 
which the heavenly company mourned or rejoiced, — as 
well as the amazing instances of second sight, seem to 
strengthen this opinion. 

If this seem strange, let us consider how strange it 
would appear to us, if we had never heard of letters, to 
he informed there was a method among many nations, of 
wrapping up their thoughts in a bit of paper, and by that 
means conveying them hundreds of miles into the bosom 
of their dearest friends ! As little could you conceive of 
the faculty of speech had you never known it ; or the 
commanding knowledge which the eye gives you over a 
large space, and a number of persons in one moment, 
had you been born blind. But though I mention these 
similes, because some can only conceive of spiritual mat- 
ters by gross ideas, 1 believe our union to be far more 
close with the heavenly host than to need these repre- 
sentations. What else doth those words of the apostle 
mean, "We are come to the general assembly, to the 
church of the first-born, and to the spirits of just men 
made perfect ?" And if " He maketh his angels spirits, 
and his ministers a flame of fire," cannot a spirit be with 
me in a moment, as easily as a stroke from an electrical 
machine can convey the fire for many miles in one mo- 
ment, through thousands of bodies, if properly linked 
together ? That the devils are about us and know our 
thoughts, is evident. A sinful thought is suggested ; we 
answer it by a Scripture. Immediately it is answered 
again. And shall not departed happy spirits, who are so 
much more of one nature with us, have the same power? 
Mr. Wesley has a beautiful observation in his sermon on 
those words,—" Are they not all ministering spirits sent 
forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ? ,v 



PART V.] 



MRS. FLETCHER. 2l 1 



vs __" That the guardian angels know our thought-. 
Items clear from the nature of their charge which i, 
Prttinly first for the soul, and but in a secondary sense 
for the body." And are not our kindred spirits more 
nearly related to us than the angels ? Why then should 
thov not have the same discernment ? 

But to return to our first question. Can they be here 
and in paradise at the same time ? Otherwise, how can 
th ey constantly minister to us ? Perhaps we shall not be 
ab le to comprehend this till that word is accomplished, 
__« Then shall we know even as also we are known." 
gut if this cannot be, then we must give up all the 
agency of angels, for the same argument will hold good 
against that. And yet our Lord hath said, « Despise 
not these little ones, for I say unto you, in heaven their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in 
heaven." 

Objection the sixth. But is it not said of the dead, 
• They are gone into the land where all things are for- 
gotten ?" And is it not the design of the Almighty thai 
our union should cease with our life, and that death 
should divide us ? As to the first part of the objection, 
1 allow there is in Psalm 88th an expression which 
implies forgetfulness ; but I think it is spoken of the body, 
which will remain in this state of forgetfulness, till re- 
animated by the spirit. But what has that to do with 
the sod ? We hear of the souls at the foot of the altar, 
who cried, "How long, O Lord, till thou judge and 
avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth ?" — 
And they were told " to rest till their brethren and fel- 
low-servants should be slain as they were." Here was 
a remembrance both of friends and enemies, as also 
of the manner of their own death. Again, " the four 
living creatures, and the twenty-four elders" in their 
«ong of praise, have these words, " Thou art worthy » 
for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy 
blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people. an« 

19* 



222 THE LIFE OF [PART V, 

nation.'' They are also emblematically represented a* 
having " phials full of incense in their hand, which are 
the prayers of the saints :" wherewith surely their 
desires (and consequently remembrance) are joined. 
Abraham is called the father of the faithful, because of 
his steadfast belief of the promise concerning Isaac, and 
is set forth as an example to us. Can we believe him 
to have forgotten that whole event ? Certainly the angel 
who called to Abraham, and said, " Lay not thy hand on 
the lad," remembers it ; for we cannot suppose himto 
have passed through any change of nature since that 
time. 

If you say it was the Angel of the covenant, yet 
doubtless many of the heavenly host were witnesses to 
ihat great and typical transaction : and must all the wis- 
dom of God manifested by the church, as the apostle 
observes, and " made known thereby to the principali- 
ties and powers in heaven," — must, I say, all the pro- 
phecies, types, and revelations, as well as their accom- 
plishment, remain for ever the subject of admiration and 
praise among the angels, and yet " the spirits of just men 
made perfect," the subjects for whom, and on whom, all 
was fulfilled, — must they only be locked up in forgetful- 
ness ? Are they, with ignorant amazement, to hear 
Gabriel repeat his conversation with Zechariah ? Op 
does he in vain endeavour to stir up in Mary a remem- 
brance of the salutation she received from the same 
bright messenger ? Shall Moses and Elias only remem- 
ber the scene on Mount Tabor, while Peter, James, and 
John remember neither it nor them ? If you say, doubt- 
less every scene relating to the Saviour will be remenv 
bered, but we shall not remember or know one another. 
I answer, the one cannot subsist without the other. If 
Abraham remembers the type in Isaac, with the exercise 
of his faith when " he hoped against hope," he must 
"remember Sarah, the removal of Hagar, with every re- 
markable circumstance of Isaac's birth. Will it not then 



23 



Tr 1 MRS. FLETCHER. 

I' ART H 

, P a e reat lessening of his praise and triumph, if he can- 
Mow whether Isaac and Sarah are with him in glory : 
*?* carry it a little further, and say, doubtless ne 
} thev are there-then for what cause can he be 
TZ tZ^ and conversing with them ?-Or i. thi, 
f ° toe only granted to Moses and Elias, who I again 
rtaWe£ knew each other on the holy mount as 
"llu as the disciples knew them. 

Pan we suppose Adam to hare a just conception of the 
incarnation and death of the Messiah and yet to forget 
the circumstances of his own fall, which occasioned this 
raciou" union ? Must he not then remember Eve, and 
Eternally rejoice to see how the seed of the -woman has 
indeed bruised the serpent's head! The account of the 
rich man and Lazarus alone is sufficient to answer every 
objection. They could see and know each other, though 
one was in heaven and the other in hell, consequently 
each could see all on earth. Abraham knew the state 
and situation of both, so as to say, Thou hast had thy good 
things, and Lazarus his evil things. And the rich man 
could remember his five brethren. If you object, and say 
this was a parable," (which there is no room to assert,) 
would our adorable Lord put forth a parable full of de- 
ceptions and wrong ideas, suited to lead us into error 
rather than truth? I do not wonder a poor heathen 
should dream of a river of forgetfulness, by drinking of 
which all former scenes were to be lost in oblivion. But 
for a soul enlightened by revelation, to forget that a day 
is coming in which every secret thing shall be made known, 
is indeed, a melancholy proof that darkness hath covered 
the earth, and gross darkness the people. 

The second part of the objection we will now consider. 
Some have alleged, that though it is certain we shall re- 
member and know one another, because without that re- 
membrance many subjects of praise would be lost in obli- 
vion, nevertheless will not all particular unions cease, 
and is it not the design of God that death should divide ? 
To answer this objection, I must premise, that what is of 



224 THE LIFE OF 



[PART v. 



God shall stand. I plead only for that union which has 
God for its source ; and I think it will not be hard to 
prove, that what God hath joined together, death cannot 
put asunder. To that question therefore — Is it not the 
design of God that death should divide us ? I answer 
division comes not from God, but from the devil. God 
both in his nature and works, is perfect unity : and his 
original design for our first parents was not sorrow, con- 
sequently not separation. If we suppose their friendship 
was not to have been immortal, we must suppose pain to 
be in Paradise; for Adam could not without pain inform 
Eve of such an awful secret, that when they had praised 
God together for a certain time, they must eternally for- 
get each other ! That he should no longer remember he 
was formed out of the dust, nor Eve her miraculous and 
near relation to him ! Would not this information have 
been a bitter draught even in Paradise ? Or suppose he 
had said, though we shall have a bare remembrance of 
each transaction, nevertheless that close union, that 
endearing oneness of soul, of which the love of God is 
the foundation, — that very union hereafter the love of 
(rod is to dissolve. This would indeed have been in it- 
self exceeding bitter, and therefore never was the origi- 
nal design of love. It was sin that brought in separation. 
It was owing to the hardness of our heart, for in the be- 
ainning it was not so ; for God created one man and one 
woman. Well may we, therefore, mourn for the sepa- 
tion death occasions ; and our sorrow is countenanced by 
Jesus himself, who wept over the ravage of this dreadful 
enemy, when he saw the consequences of it in Martha's 
and Mary's tears. I allow that it is true most unions on 
earth are dissolved by death, because the friendships of 
the world are oft confederates of vice, or leagues of plea- 
sure ; and few can add, 

" Ours hath severest virtue for its basis, 
And such a friendship ends not but with life."' 

The Christian can say more ; it ends not even with 
life. In the church below, we are commanded to love 



„ v 1 SIRS. FLETCHER. 22-3 

PART V.J 

„,iMour as ourselves, and to consider our fellow- 
9 Z ZL as members of one body ; but does this obliga- 

?TXT^ - i0 » s? Let that T, 1 beth , e 

Tee who hath felt most of the love of God and his neigh- 
l r For otherwise there is, indeed, a love ot pro- 
t'v or in other words, self-love reflected, which pu- 
P -t of heart will remove. But as similitude joins, and 
Similitude separates, so those spirits who are joined by 
their similitude of love and pure worship, who having 
been led in one path, (and probably prepared for one 
mansion,) can as easily retain a peculiar union without 
any diminution of their love to others, as a married cou- 
ple can retain their love to each other, notwithstanding 
they have a dozen children to share it with them. My 
experience in the love of God is very shallow, yet I have 
felt enough to satisfy me, that the more our love to God 
increases, the nearer will be our love to each other, 
and the more indissoluble the tie : and the stronger this 
union, the more it will reflect on all around ; and turning 
fo its source, the love of Jesus will reflect back again 
with a perpetual increasing purity. 

But I build my strongest argument on those words— 
death, where is thy sting/ O grave, where is thy victory ? 
If death can eternally separate kindred spirits, it hath 
eternally a sting ! And if the grave can eternally retain 
the body, it would have an eternal victory. But there 
is a covenant made with our dust. His elect shall be ga- 
thered from the four za: rids. Bone shall come to its bone, 
and not one forget its socket. And shall nothing be lost 
but our spiritual union ? Shall the grand enemy still have 
that one trophy left to glory in, and to insult over the 
saints of God ? Shall we believe him when he says, " A 
day is coming in which your closest unions, your purest 
ties of friendship, shall be no more ! All that wonderful 
chain of providences, in which angels were employed in 
bringing you together, shall be sunk in eternal oblivion ! 
Indeed, this was v--.«r *.he original design of the Almighty, 
but I have overturned this one great design of love : and 



226 THE LIFE OF [PART V. 

that so effectually, that the Saviour himself could not re- 
store it ; and instead of having abolished all the conse- 
quences of death, it leaves the scar of separation for 
ever ! Now I am the father of death, and have so far 
conquered, that what God hath in design eternally joined 
together, I have eternally put asunder !" — Ah no, glory 
be to our victorious Conqueror. Death shall be for ever 
swallowed up in complete victory ! He hath abolished it with 
all its consequences, and brought life and immortality to 
light by the Gospel. — He hath broken down the wall, re- 
moved the vail : and through him we are come to the 
church of the first-bom, to the spirits of just men made 
perfect. We are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the 
household of God ! And having overcome the sharpness 
of death, he hath already opened the kingdom of heaven 
to all believers. Perhaps some may say, but if it be 
thus, why do not the Scriptures plainly tell us, death is 
no division but on our side ; .and that our friends still see, 
hear, and are about us ? I answer, — There may be 
many reasons why a vail should be drawn over this hea- 
venly secret. It is probable the primitive church knew 
it more perfectly ; but what was the consequence ? 
When they left their first love, they no longer held the 
head, but ran into the false humility of the worship of 
angels, instead of worshipping God only, and adoring Him 
for the angelic ministry. Perhaps some communion with 
departed spirits caused the first step into the egregious 
errors of the Papists ; and man, ever prone to extremes, 
knew not how to throw away the abuse, without throw- 
ing away the use of this heavenly secret. Nevertheless, 
" the secret of the Lord is still with the righteous, and His 
ear is open to their prayers. He will manifest himself to 
them, though not unto the world :" and He will grant to 
heavenly minds, when he sees good, a heavenly commu- 
nication with the church triumphant. 

About this time I had a letter from my brother-in-law, 
Pe la Flechere. in Switzerland, letting me know that bis 



„ ,. I MRS. FLETCHER. 227 

FART ^.J 

n was coming to England, and he wished him to spend 
Zme time with me ; hoping the sight of the place on 
\bich his dear uncle had spent so many years' labour, 
% ight, with the blessing of God, raise some thoughts in 
hlimind of the importance of a religious life. I laid the 
matter before the Lord, believing He would order all 
Vht • for ever since the removal of my beloved hus- 
band, 'i have s0 experienced the effects of his last prayer. 
"Wad of the church, be Head to my wife," that I was 
not permitted to doubt that all concerning me was under 
the Lord's immediate direction. And though my state 
was not for the present joyous, yet, through all, I in- 
wardly believed the hairs of my head were numbered. 
Some particular circumstances, however, caused me to 
think it was the order of God I should go to Bristol, Bath, 
and some other places, and that now was the time ; for 
after my return, it might be that the Lord had something 
for me to do or to suffer here. 

Since my marriage I had travelled a good deal with 
my dear Mr. Fletcher, and in these journeys had often 
suffered much through needless fears ; the most predo- 
minant passion of my soul by nature. And what, thought 
I, should such a poor creature as me do with only S?dly, 
and under some disadvantages I had not then ? But still 
I believed it to be the call of God. 

At the time 1 had appointed to set out, there was an 
appearance of much enow, which caused my friends to 
advise me to put off my journey a little longer ; but as 
this would have deranged some plans, I thought it better 
to follow the course which I had fixed.— When all was 
ready, and I was waiting for the carriage, 1 cast my eyes 
on the Bible, which lay open before me, at the 3-1 th 
Psalm. Much of it was applied to my heart ; in particu- 
lar these words : O magnify the Lord with m<:, and let us 
exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard 
me, and delivered me from all my fears. Faith sprung up 
in mv heart ! I said, it shall be fulfilled : and from thai 



228 THE LIFE OF j PART V. 



hour, I have felt such a change, in regard to fear, as I 
can give no one an idea of, unless they should have suf- 
fered as I have done, from the same infirmity. 

All the way as I went through various things, which 
Would once have been very painful, I could feel those 
words my own, which, for so many years I had longed 
after, viz. that " Resignation left me no room for fear." 
No, " The angel of the Lord encampeth round about 
them that fear him, and delivereth them." 

Many providences I met with in my journey, and very 
clearly did I see the hand of the Lord in various places 
and things. While I was at Bristol, in the house of my 
kind and affectionate friend, sister Johnson, I was agree- 
ably surprised with the sight of Mr. H***, who had left 
his native place, and was just come to settle at Bristol, 
because he believed it most profitable for his soul. He 
presented to me his wife, a serious woman, saying, My 
dear, this is your mother also, for she is mine ; and both 
assured me of their determination to be entirely devoted 
to God. As there was something singular in this affair, I 
will mention the particulars. In the journey which I 
took with sister Ryan to Clifton, for her health, when I 
was about the age of twenty-seven, we lodged in a house 
where the family were very ungodly. There was only 
my sick friend, myself, and the nurse ; and our whole 
apartments consisted of two chambers. After we had 
been there two or three days, we observed some things 
which we did not like very well. One night there was a 
strange noise below stairs, as of very rattling, wild com- 
pany. It may be supposed, it did not well agree with 
my sorrowful heart ; for at that season I had nothing to 
expect (humanly speaking) but to bury my dear friend 
there, or carry her back in a coffin— only she had varioug 
promises to the contrary, which sometimes I believed, 
and sometimes doubted. On inquiring next morning, 
they informed us that " Mr. H*** was come, and now 
they should be all alive." I had before asked the family, 



P\RT V.J MKS - LETCHER. ^29 

fwho did not appear to be persons of the best character.) 
if they would choose to come up into my room in a morn- 
[ ivr to family prayer, as they were only women ? But 
Ihev never, as I remember, accepted the invitation. 
However, some davs after the above-mentioned racket, 
hev sent me word, " If I pleased, Mr. H*** and them- 
«elve« would wait on me to prayer the next morning." I 
yd not dare to refuse, and answered, they were welcome. 
God only knew what a cross I felt in so doing! I had 
all the reason that could be. to think they only wanted to 
divert themselves ; and the receiving a wild young gen- 
tleman, with such gay ladies, into my bedchamber, seemed 
to me a strange enterprise. The chapter I chose to read 
iv as the 25th of Matthew. I spoke with freedom on each 
of the parables, and found God was rvith my mouth. I did 
not much look off the book, till about the middle of the 
parable of the talents I cast my eyes towards Mr. PI*** 5 
; >n(l was surprised to find his earnestly fixed on me, and 
jrtimming with tears. When prayer was over, he re- 
spectfully returned me thanks, and went down stairs. 
After attending three mornings, he stopped behind the 
family, and told me, when they were gone, that he was 
convinced he had led a bad life, and he wished to learn 
how to do better. That he was free from all business, 
had a good fortune, and was only here accidentally ; and 
if I would tell him where he could get instruction, and 
help for his soul, he would go anywhere, for this house, 
said he, " I must leave." From the first morning there 
was no more noise, singing, breaking glasses, or rude be- 
haviour of any kind. As my friend grew worse, we were 
desired to leave Clifton, and try Bath. There she re- 
covered to admiration ; and in a short time we returned 
to the orphan-house, at Layton-stone. Mr. H*** marie 
good his words ; and cultivating the friendship of some 
pious persons whom we had recommended to him in Lon- 
don, particularly brother George Clark, he became much 
confirmed in the truth ; and hath ever since remained 



v»f> 



230 THE LIFE OF [PART V 

a follower thereof, and a promoter of the prosperity of 
Zion. — At Bristol also I met with poor Fanny,* much 
grown in grace, and adorning her profession. — And after 
a month's absence, I was brought again in peace to 
Madely, and constrained to say, 

44 In all my ways His hand I own, 
His ruling providence I ace." 

I now found my dear love's relations in Switzerland 
laid greatly on my mind in prayer ; and sometimes when 
engaged therein, it has seemed to me as if his dear spirit 
«o joined with me, as I cannot express : and for his ne- 
phew in particular, whom I expected, I was greatly 
drawn out in intercession. 

Being poorly one Saturday night, about ten o'clock, 
(the last week in May,) J was about retiring to bed, when 
word was brought me that my nephew was arrived. He 
could speak little English, and I but little French. This 
was the first I had seen of my dear husband's relations. 
He was of his own name, his godson, and his only ne- 
phew. But, alas ! 1 now received him alone, and instead 
of showing him his dear uncle, and sweet instructer, I 
could only lead him to the silent tomb, and say, " Live 
as he lived, and theu shalt die as he died." 

I found him as I expected, quite carnal, and very 
averse to the things of God. As my spirits were very 
weak, and his pretty high, I wished to have him rather as 
a visiter, than one of my family : and Providence so ap- 
pointed for me. Mr. Home, the curate, understanding 
French, kindly offered to receive him into bis house, 
until he was more perfect in the English language. I soon 
discovered he was of a sweet temper, a fine understand- 
ing, and outwardly very moral, but withal a strong 
Deist ; and as he delighted much in philosophy, he placed 
such confidence therein, as to believe he could set us all 
right, if he might but have five hours dispute with us ! 

I inquired of the Lord concerning the method I should 
use towards him ; and saw for the present, I was only 
* Tha Jewess mentioned in the former visit. 



PVRT V.] MR3, ^'ETCHER, 231 

railed to show him condescension and love—to consider 
i'nv=elf as his servant in Christ, and therefore to stand 
ahvays ready to take up my cross, and in every thing in- 
nocent to do his will rather than my own. And as I 
could not say much to him in words. I must the more en- 
deavour to show him, by the example of myself and fami- 
ly, that religion justly bears the character given her in 
these words, 

" Mild, sweet, serene, and lender is her meed, 

Nor grave wiih sternness, nor with lightness free : 
Against example resolutely good, 

Fervent in zeal, and warm in charity." 

It appeared to me as if those four lines were given me 
a s a direction which I must ever keep before nw "*ye£. 
And much did I plead with the Lord, that notLi:^ he 
c a w in me, or mine, might tend to set him further off 
from God. When we could converse in English with 
tolerable ease, I perceived he had not only imbibed many 
wrong sentiments, but had such a stock of pharisaicai 
righteousness, as I scarcely ever met with before. 

One day, as he was talking in his free way, about the 
truths of the Gospel, a friend said, " If your aunt hear? 
you talk at this rate, she will be much grieved." He 
replied, " But I will not say these things to her ; though 
should my aunt talk much to me about religion, I fear J 
shall not keep my temper : for my uncle drove many peo- 
ple mad when he was abroad. I do believe there were 
three hundred who were quite mad ! They talked of 
being filled with love, and kept praying and running to- 
gether, not only while he was there, but since that time 
also." 

Hearing of this, I said, " Tell him I will promise to 
keep my temper whether he does or not, for my love to 
him has a better foundation than he can shake." In order 
to improve in the English language, he proposed to read 
to me some hours in a day ; and I was to choose the 
books. Mr. Wesley was so kind a* to send him Batty'- 



232 THE LIFE OF [PART V, 

Evidences of the Christian Religion, which he read with 
some pleasure : but as yet his heart remained untouched. 

I was very conscious I had none of that wisdom which 
in cases of this kind is often very useful ; and where it is 
joined with divine unction, does beautifully illustrate the 
truths it endeavours to defend. But that word was re- 
membered with pleasure, " I will choose the foolish 
things of the world to confound the wisdom of the wise. 
And again, " My strength shall be made perfect in weak- 
ness." 

Well, thought I, if I have no philosophical arguments 
to bring, I will so much the more cry to the strong for 
strength. I cannot do with the armour I have not proved ; 
but the stone of conviction, and the sling of faith is that 
which I must depend on ; and when . these are directed 
by the Spirit of God, nothing can stand against them. 

Many of the Protestants in Switzerland are Deists ; 
they are nevertheless very strict in bringing the young 
people to the communion ; and they esteem it a reproach 
to do otherwise. My nephew expressed a desire of 
joining with us in that mean of grace, for having been 
from home some years at the university, he had not yet 
been brought to the table. Mr. Home told him freely 
his scruples in receiving him as a communicant — but 
after much conversation, he perceived a degree of con- 
viction, and a desire to know the truth, and consented to 
admit him. 

The first time he came to the table, as he was kneeling 
beside me, and Mr. Home was speaking those words, 
•' The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which was shed 
for thee" — I found such a power of prayer spring up in 
my heart, it seemed as if I claimed a ray of the divinity 
just then to penetrate his soul. He hath since told me, 
he felt something very particular at that moment. My 
greatest difficulty however lay here, he did not believe 
the Scriptures. I was therefore cut off from drawing any 
arguments from them, and could only hold to this, tin- 



{•ART V.J MAS, FLETCHER. 233 

necessity of a change, in order to be capable of enjoy- 
ino- the Supreme Being. 

°I observed to him, You believe heavento be a state, 
and a place of holiness, and the happiness there to be 
separate from all sin ; — is there not then an absolute need 
of having a disposition suited thereto ? — This he readily 
allowed ; but added, — " Then I will make myself this 
new creature. The Supreme Being hath not left his 
work imperfect. He hath given me powers sufficient, if 
I do but use them ; and if I am to do all by this grace of 
God, as you say, then what has God to thank me for ? !! 
I endeavoured to convince him of our utter helplessness, 
except through that assistance which we draw from union 
with God through the Saviour, without whom we cannot 
do any thing. He replied, " Indeed, Aunt, that is not 
my case. — I do not know how it may be with others, but 
for me, I do assure you, there is no snare I cannot avoid, 
nor any passion I cannot overcome." 

As he abhorred the doctrine of the fall, as much as 
that of the divinity of our Lord, I did not speak often on 
those heads. I sought rather to convince him he was 
fallen, whether through Adam, or any other way, and 
that he was a sinner and unfit for heaven : and narrowly 
did I watch for every opportunity of pointing out any 
disposition that would help to prove my argument, though 
it was very difficult to bring him to a consciousness of 
any. At last I observed he had an abhorrence of the 
*in of envy, and a sensibility of having felt it. I then, 
on every proper occasion, enlarged on the happiness of 
the blest, as consisting in love, the very contrary to 
selfishness, which was the principle from whence envy 
took its life ; and therefore he must become a new crea- 
ture to enter into that state. This he now began to see, 
and sometimes to feel ; but all my hopes appeared to be 
overturned at once, by a circumstance which occurred. 
— He had fixed his affections on a lady, from whom about 
this time, he thought he received some encouragement.. 

20 * 



234 THE LIFE OF [PART T. 

Elated with joy, he was carried out of himself! There 
was nothing left for me to take hold of. He had no ear 
to hear but on one subject.— I returned to a silent wait- 
ing before the Lord- 
One night, about the beginning of November, I dreamed 
1 was in a church, standing by a communion table, on 
which lay a large common prayer-book, open in the 
service of matrimony. I observed it was all marked, as 
my dear husband used to mark those books he much 
approved. I beheld it with pleasure, for being near the 
12th of November, I took it as a token that he remem- 
bered with approbation the transaction of that day, — our 
marriage. I was conscious of the presence of his dear 
spirit, as sent to communicate something to me. As I 
looked on the book, he signified to me the whole was 
emblematic, though few entered into the spirituality of 
it. Adding, " This is a great mystery : I speak concern- 
ing Christ and the church." As I cast my eyes on thai 
word,—" Who giveth this woman to this man ?" he 
pointed me to that text, " None cometh to the Son but 
whom the Father draweth." As nothing was spoken in 
words, it is difficult to describe the ideas which were 
conveyed to my mind. A gleam of light seemed to 
break forth in my soul, by which I discovered in how 
full a sense the souls of the redeemed are given by the 
Father to the Son, as his bride ! I then thought on those 
words, " The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his 
wife hath made herself ready." In this acceptable mo- 
ment, my nephew came to my mind. I said, with a 
groan, O for our nephew! Immediately I saw a little 
bird fly round and round. I said, That is the emblem 
of my nephew's spirit. If it come to me and I take it 
up, his soul will be given unto me. I had no sooner 
spoke the word, but it came and alighted on the table 
before me. I took it up, stroked it, and let it fly. again. 
A thought then struck my mind, — O, but he does not 
believe the Scriptures ! The bird came, and I took it up 
she second tioae. As it flew again, I thought, 0. but he 



PART V.] MRS. FLETCHER, £3"5 

does not believe in the divinity of our Lord ! Immediately 
it returned, and I took it up a third time. I no more 
saw it flying, but a beautiful large bird stood with great 
solemnity before me, and I awoke, 

As I was in prayer a little time after the above dream, 
these words bore on my mind, " He setteth the solitary 
in families, and maketh them households as a flock of 
sheep." Also, "Thy sons shall come from far; and 
thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side." It was on 
the Monday night I had the dream here related ; and on 
the following Friday, my nephew received a flat denial 
from the before-mentioned lady. — Here all his philosophy 
and boasted reason failed. He was as one driven to des- 
peration. The next night he told me all his heart, say- 
ing, "O Aunt! if you could see into my breast, you 
would see how troubled I am, for the pain I have caused 
vou. But now I see you are in the right. — No ! we 
cannot do without the help of God. — I thought I could 
conquer every passion, but now I find they are taller and 
bigger than me." After telling me how many trials and 
disappointments he had met with in life, he added, " Do, 
dear aunt, pray with me." I did so, he weeping all the 
time with groans. When we rose from our knees, he 
said, " Ah ! I am in the wrong, I thought all religion 
stood in the abhorrence of outward evil ! but now I see 
there is something more." I told him my dream ; when 
I came to that part of it relating to himself, he was much 
inoved, and said " O, Aunt, if it depend on me, it shall 
be accomplished, indeed it shall." 

The' next morning, he told me, that after we had 
parted the last night, as he was striving to pray, he found 
all his troubles gone, and felt for a few moments such a 
tranquillity as he had never known before. — But his 
trouble, as well as his reluctance to believe, returned 
again, — yet with this difference, — he had now a con- 
sciousness that he was wrong ; and expressed a great 
desire to know, and embrace the truth. 



236 THE LIFE OF [PART Y. 

From some concurring circumstances, I believed it to 
be the order of God to iir.ite him to live with me the 
remainder of the time he had to stay in England ; but 
remembering what a friend had said, " I cannot converse 
with him any more ; he tears open all the wounds of 
unbelief;" — I said, "Lord, shall it be so with me?" 
And was answered by the application of that word to my 
mind, " I will not send ycu a warfare at your own 
charges." And glory be to my adorable Lord, so it 
proved ; for all he could say served but to light up a 
fresh candle in my soul ! Every time I read the Scrip. 
tures, a new lustre shone on every part, and the divine 
evidence rose higher and higher in my heart. I could 
now observe he heard with deep attention ; and one 
day he said to me, " Aunt, it is not now that I -mil not 
believe, but that I cannot; for when you read the chapter 
night and morning, and tell your thoughts upon it, it 
seems unanswerable. But then something comes — some 
thoughts, — I do not seek them, but they come and throw 
me all back again." 

His state was now very uncomfortable. Sometimes 
he was just ready to receive the Scriptures as truth: 
then a variety of objections weald start up in his mind, 
and cause him to cry out, " How can these things be T 
If we cannot be saved without believing that Jesus is. 
God, why did he live and die in such obscurity ? Would 
not a merciful Being have rendered every thing quite 
clear that he required his creatures to believe, upon 
pain of their salvation ;* He added many arguments fre- 
quently used by deists, such as—" How clearly doth the 
whole creation prove a Supreme Creator! The day and 
uight, the sun and moon, and all creatures !, We cannot 
help believing they have a Maker. W T hy is not the 
divinity of Jesus Christ made as easy to be believed as 

* The God of infinite mercy, justice, and truth, has made all clear. 
Thi Evidences of Hk Being are not stronger than the Evidences of the 
Religiuu he has reveal'J. Ed- 



P4RT V.J MRS * FLETCHER. 237 

t } iese things ?" I replied, The belief of those things 
vou have "mentioned, are by the outward senses ; but 
religion is an inward principle, which God must open in 
our souls, and which changes every power and passion 
thereof. If all you are to believe could be compre- 
hended bv the outward senses, the greatest sinners might 
]yc as o'ood believers as the most holy persons. But the 
- eu se which God opens in the soul, and which we call faith, 
makes you acquainted with spiritual things, and capable of 
communion with God. He then answered in haste, " God 
hath never opened such a sense in my soul, and of course 
he will not condemn me for not using a power he hath not 
■riven." True, (said I) it is not opened in you ; but it is 
•because you shut your eyes and heart against it. Your 
-rate is exactly described in the word of God, whether you 
will believe it or no. This same Jesus whom you have 
despised, was " to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the 
wise Greeks foolishness, but to us who believe,'' we feel 
him to be " the wisdom of God, and the power of God." 

It was a precious time to my own soul ; I had such a 
sweet view of tho whole plan of redemption ! A ray of 
light shone upon the amazing wisdom, as well as love, 
contained therein, and rilled my heart with a sweet 
liberty, while I was attempting*to lay before him the 
hidden glories of the adorable Jesus : when he appeared 
without form or comeliness, and by his deep humiliation 
marked out all r-nr >»'ay! How well suited this plan 
of salvation was to break down the high aspiring thoughts 
of man, and to bring him into that absolute dependence, 
and perfect submission, which make the joys of heaven ! 
I observed also, that a far greater salvation was wrought 
out for us, and a far greater glory would redound to God, 
by this wonderful act of free grace, than could have 
been if we had never needed such a Saviour. 

I now daily discerned some advances, he gave back 
more and more ; and the word of God began to be more 
honourable in his eyes. But yet he would say, " Every 
man hath the right of private judgment,— Can I not lw 



2 38 the LIFE OF [PART v. 

=*aved without believing on Jesus Christ ? If I address 
my prayers to the Supreme Being, and strive to obe? 
him, why should 1 bo condemned for not believing what 
I cannot understand '?" To this I answered, "God sq 
loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that 
all who believe on him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life." Now, said I, there is the condition : " \t 
you believe on him whom the Father hath given." Jf e 
seemed in a struggle to believe, and said with vehemence 
— " But I cannot believe God would become a man, and 
die for me ! I am not worthy of it ! The thought i s 
absurd. Why, Aunt, if I were condemned to death, do 
you believe the King of England would die to save 'my 
life ? No, said I, I believe he would not. " Now there 
is the thing," replied he—" You start at the thought of 
the king dying for me ; and yet you want me to believe, 
that God hath died in my place I"* 

I observed the different relation he stood in to God 

The king (said I,) did not create you ; you are not his 
offspring : neither can the love of a finite being bear any 
comparison with that pure unmixed love, Which dwells in 
the heart of God. The king did not voluntarily take all 
your condemnation on himself. But the Almighty Sa- 
viour has done so ! He»acts by us as if some great poteii' 
tate should receive into his favour a poor beggar — make 
her his spouse — lake all her debts on himself — give her a 
right to his treasures — a part in his throne — and a share 
in all his titles ! " Thus God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on 
him," should by virtue of that union inherit all things ! 
Here is the condition : but you will not comply there- 
with.— Only suppose for one moment, that the king had 
died to save your life : but that when you was informed 
of his unparalleled love, you would give no credit 
thereto : even though cne should say to you, Only look 
through this glass in my hand. I hold it to your eye ; 
oiily look through it, and you will see him hang bleeding 
* What a genuine instance of carnal reasoning ! Ed 



t-3 



1 



,,1 MRS. FLETCHER. 231' 

jKART V-J 

! Bu' you turn away your face with contempt, and 
Tnot so much as look on him who bleeds for you '. 
Would you not in that case be a monster of ingratitude '{ 
vl this word of God, this book, is the glass ; if with 
-implicit/ and prayer you look into it, you shall there 
li-cern that Supreme Being, (whom unknown you wor- 
1 iv) and that " He was in Christ reconciling the world 
to himself: and that there is no other name given under 
heaven whereby you can be saved." 

One afternoon as he was reading to me, I pointed him 
., the experience of Brother Story, believing it was 
■uited to his present state. But contrary to all I had for 
i i ng time seen in him, he appeared quite hard, and 
cavilled at almost every sentence. I answered his objec- 
tions for a long time, till I was quite spent. Then look- 
ing solemnly at him, with tears in my eyes, I put out my 
hand to take the book. He was moved, and said tenderly 
___" What, Aunt ! What I No ! I will read any thing, 
an y thing you give me ! You think me in a bad spirit, 
Aunt !" I replied, Why, my dear, I do not think you 
pre in a very good one. — That book does not suit you 
to-night. — He then read on, till he came to a part very 
applicable to his present feelings. He dropped the book 
at once, and remained silent.— After a time I asked him 
what was the matter ? He replied—" I know not what 
is the matter ! I feel a horrible sensation ! O what do 
1 ail ! How have 1 been speaking to you ! Dear Aunt, 
the more kind you are, the more ungrateful I am. — 
What is the matter with me ? I am worse and worse !" 
I strove to comfort him ; saying, It is well ; the Lord is 
beginning to show you your heart. "Ah," replied he, 
" You say very well, but I say very ill ; for I am worse 
than before I came to England. O, I am ashamed to 
think how I spent my life ! I thought I had done all 
things for the glory of God. But now I see I have done 
all for myself, and to please myself only." After some 
time of silence, he said, " I will now tell you what I have 
been doing. All this week I have strove to address my 



<v 



40 THE LIFE OF [PART V. 

prayers to Jesus Christ, as you advised me, but alas! I 
am more dull and cold in them than I ever felt before ! 
O, if he is God, why doth he not help me ! You said 
Aunt, he would answer for himself!" Then in an agony 
he added, " Why does he not answer ? Why does he 
not answer ?" While I was making a few observations 
on the long time the Lord had waited for him, &c. Mr. 
Home came in to meet the men's class, to which he was 
that night to go up for the first time. When he came 
down, he said his mind was more composed, and he 
wished he had frequented that meeting before. 

After supper, being alone, we renewed our converse 
lion, and I repeatedly assured him the Lord would shine 
upon him if he would only persevere. His cry was still 
** Why does he not answer ?" It being late, we parted, 
I then went again to the throne of grace, to pour out m'y 
complaint before the Lord. I saw we were come to a 
point, and could go no further without His immediate 
help. I had staked all on the faithfulness of my God, 
and had declared the answer would come : and now 
there was nothing more for me to do, but to obtain it of 
the Almighty. Sometimes I felt all faith and hope ; at 
others, as if cold water was thrown over the fire of ex- 
pectation. Satan was not idle. He suggested, You will 
find him to-morrow as you left him to-night. I pleaded 
with the Lord, that it was no new thing I asked. He 
had shown his approval of sacrifices by tire from heaven ; 
—He had wrought for his people ; — He had giv en sign3 
and wonders! "His arm was not shortened," and I 
besought him to appear in such a manner for this young 
man, as should convince him of the truth. Sometimes 1 
felt all discouragement, but I did not mind that ; I knew 
from whence it came. I said, Lord ! thy word standi 
always sure ; it is not my feelings, but thy faithfulness, 
that I depend on. Lord, thou hast said — " Whatsoever 
ye shall ask the Father in my name, I "/ill do it." I ask 
this in thy name ! I leave it in thy hand, assured of the 
answer. 



PART V.] WKS - *' LETCHEK ' 24J 

The next morning he went out early. On his return 
it night, he said, " Aunt, I have a great deal to tell you. 
lifter 'we parted last night, I thought I would pray ; but 
that it was right to consider what I wanted most. Then 
1 thought, why I most want light in this point, about 
j eS us Christ. But will God so condescend as to answer 
me ? Then, Aunt, I heard a voice, (not with my ear, 
but I did hear it,) say, Yes, he will. Then I began and 
made prayer ;— and an hour went away like a minute,— 
an d I could say, Through the Lord Jesus Christ ! O dear 
Vunt, I thought I must have come up and told you, but 
vou were gone to bed. And again I thought, may be 
to-morrow God will confirm this. And so he has, for 
when 1 was at Waters Upton, Mr. G. H. began to make 
pleasantry of the miracles of Jesus Christ. I said in 
myself, yesterday I could have smiled at this, and heard 
it with pleasure ; but now it was a horrible sensation, I 
could not bear it. I was forced to go out of the house. 
Was not that a sign, Aunt, that there is some change 

in ni e ' 

Soon after, he had a particular dream. He thought he 
was in Switzerland, and attempting to converse with one 
of his old acquaintance on the things of God ; but wa- 
much surprised to find he could only speak in English, 
afterward, as he stood at a window with his father, he 
saw eight full moons all at once, and said in his mind, it 
means eight months. A beautiful city then rose up before 
his eyes, and as he looked thereon, he beheld a lovely 
appearance, and thought, Is that St. John ? He looked, 
till dazzled with the beams of glory which surrounded 
the face, as it passed over the city, he cried out, See ! 
lather, see ! The Lord Jesus ! The Lord Jesus ! and so 
awoke. This dream seemed to make a deep impression 
on him, though he attempted no explanation. About a 
week after this, coming home one night late, from visiting 
a sick neighbour, on my inquiring after his state, he 
answered, " Aunt, 1 have not found the evening long, for 

Of 



242 THE LIFE OF [PART \ 

I have been in deep recollection almost all the time you 
have been gone. And now I can say, " Faith is the evi- 
dence of things unseen," for if 1 had seen my Lord, I 
could not be more assured than 1 am." From this time 
the change has been more and more evident. He attends 
all the meetings with me, and our dear friends are not a 
little delighted to hear the nephew and godson of their 
beloved Minister, telling in his broken English, that his 
eyes, which had long been accustomed to see darkness, 
do now behold the light of the Lord. 

Sometime after, writing to a friend, he uses these 
words, " I have altogether left Mr. Home's house 
though fully satisfied with all there ; but it would have 
been very disagreeable to me to have been forced to ride 
daily , and at night, over one of the worst roads in the 
kingdom. I have now for three months enjoyed the 
happiness of living with my Aunt, and I feel more and 
more the immense obligation which I owe to her, not 
only for all the temporal care she hath taken for me, 
but much more for the blessing of my soul. Yes, she 
hath shown me clearly, that the knowledge of mathema- 
tics, and a vain philosophy, are not sufficient to procure 
us true happiness ; but the knowledge of Him only who 
giveth wisdom liberally to those who ask it. She hath 
taught me to distinguish the things which are situated 
within the reach of our understanding, from those which 
are beyond it ; for I must own that the idea which I had 
before of the strength of my understanding, and the ex- 
tent of my knowledge, was so false, that I thought nothing 
to be out of my sphere. But now, blessed be God! 
not only I feel that it is not permitted to men to scruti- 
nize with profane looks the mysteries of religion, but 1 
believe them with a holy respect ; and tar from being 
ashamed to acknowledge Jesus for my Saviour, I set my 
glory in it, and that persuasion makes me happy !" 

He is indeed a new creature, and his conscience ap- 
pears to bo so tender, and his convictions of the need of 



TART 



v# l MRS. FLETCHER. 243 



further change, so strong, that I am sunk in amazement 
•ind wonder ! O what a prayer-hearing God have we to 
tlo with ! " Ask, and you shall receive," is more than 
over written on my heart ! On the first of January, he 
was much blest, and told me he had found such a power 
to renew his covenant with the Lord as he had never 
clone before. He broke out in prayer with such simpli- 
city as delighted the whole congregation ! In a few 
months he must leave me, and return to Switzerland — I 
trust in the power of the Lord, to be a messenger of glad 
tidings to the dear family of his precious uncle. O, my 
God ! what hast thou done for thy poor worm in the 
day of her adversity ! " Bless the Lord, O my soul, and 
all that is within me, bless his holy name !"' 



£SD OF THE FIFTH PART. 



PART THE SIXTH. 

Mer religious experience at Madehj. 
December 3, 1785. 

iAST night 1 had a peculiar sense of that truth, " Thv 
Maker is thy Husband !" I saw great depth in that 
declaration. The thought of belonging only to Jesu* 
was precious i These words were powerfully on my 
mind,— 

" Be bold in Jesus to confide, 
His creature, and his spotless bride ! 

Thy husband's power and goodness prove, 
The holy one of Israel He ! 
The Lord of hosts hath chosen thee, 

In faith, and holiness, and love !" 

1 saw and felt all things are possible to persevering 
laith : but in the midst of this exercise, my old tempta- 
tion presented, Thou art not in joy ! — And some say,- 

hi No more holiness than joy." — It was as cold water cast 
on a fire ! My feeble sore spirit trembled under the 
suggestion, and sorrow s waves around me rolled ! I 
said, true, I have not joy! Again it came to my mind, 
others believe because an overflowing power constrains 
them so to do : but I believe, as it were, because I will 
believe.* Yet I thought, is not that the way of faitb ?. 
Ought I not to hang on Jesus in the midst of the fire ? 
What is " the abiding in the secret place of the Most 
High?" Is it not taking shelter in Jesus, and keeping 
fixed there whatever storms may surround ? I cried to 
J he Lord, and sometimes the faith of Abraham was set 
before me. These words of our Lord were also applied, 
'Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have 

* So must they in the hour of temptation. JEd, 



PART VI.] MRS * FLETCHER. 245 

believed." But still the weight hung over my soul. At 
night I went to bed oppressed, yet struggling to maintain 
that faith which « Staggers not at the promise," but gives 
<rlory to God by believing. 

° I dreamed I was in a room with Sally, and saw a pic- 
ture, or rather the groundwork for a picture, on which 
„„,«. ' on Iy painted one small sheep lying down ; the rest 
was all plain, I said to her, Sally, look on that picture, 
and what the Lord says, your dear master will draw it 
out for me to read ! I then saw letter by letter come 
out, as if wrote (though without any hand or pen,) as 
follows : " She that dwelleth in the secret place of the 
Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." 
I frit it a confirmation of my faith ; and said, There is no 
better path than to repose the soul in God, and to go on 
in quiet resignation, whatever we may feel. As I wa? 
making that reflection, I heard, though yet asleep, my 
dear husband's voice, as if close to my face, speaking 
these words, — 

Shout, all ye people of the sky ! 
Aad all ye sr.inis of the Most High: 
Our God, who thus His right obtains, 
For ever and for ever reigns .' 

The beginning I heard in my sleep, but as it waked 
me, the rest was heard afterward ; and I could have 
known his voice among a thousand. I saw from it, we 
never render to God his right till we abandon, by a 
perfect resignation, all our concerns, spiritual as well a* 
temporal, into his hand, and learn to lie still before Him. 
in the posture of a little child, hanging each moment by 
faith on His mercy. I see how the art of Satan has hin- 
dered me. Indeed my present state is not joyous. I feel. 
keenly feel my loss ! I am as a poor sheep alone on the 
mountains. I feel a sorrow no pen can describe. I am 
penetrated with fiery darts, and my health so broken, 
my nerves so weak ; — with a variety of trying affairs, 
which quite weigh me down. But this morning, the 

21 * 



246 THE LIFE OF [ PA R T VI. 

Lord showed me, I was not to set joy as the mark,* bat 
a ready submission, and quiet resignation to His will 
1 hat I was to fix this on my mind, " Whoso trusteth i ' 
the Lord shall never be confounded." That I was to li* 
still as clay in his hand ; that he in his wisdom and love 
might save me in the way that he knew. My only care 
should be, to embrace the cross with a ready will ! 

February 6, 1786. My soul is waiting on the Lord 
I believe he will bring me into his unclouded presence ! 
I do feel the truth of these words, 

" They shall as their right His righteousness claim." 

I also feel that, 

" I shall as my right His purity claim." 

I do claim it, and feel a share therein. He keeps me ; 
I know " He that abideth in Him sinneth not." My soul 
doth abide, looking by faith to Jesus ; and I do not 
feel any sin ; yet my sorrow and mourning is deep. I 
also feel sore temptation ; not to any thing earthly of 
any kind. No, I believe " the world is crucified to me," 
and I " unto the world!" It has no charms for me ; but 
I am tempted with great terrors, which come over my 
mind in a moment, and my weak nerves, which have 
been affected even to a degree of palsy, help to let in 
the temptations. At times the Lord Jesus gives me such 
a view of his faithfulness and full power to save, that 
I seem to forget for a few moments all my sorrow ! This 
is the case often ; but then, the vision shuts again, and 
grievous temptations return. I want a full liberty, such 
as was given at the outpouring of the Spirit on the day 
of Pentecost. 1 believe there is a degree of union which 
shuts out all sorrow,! — The soul having so entered into 
the element of love, as to be incapable of receiving any 

* It is a real part of the " kingdom of God," (Rom. xvii. 14.) but not 
Sensibly discerned while the believer is " sifted as wheat." Ed. 

\ No ; our Lord was a man of sorrows. But all rebellious sorrow we 
way be saved from. Ed. 



PART VI.] MRS * FLETCHER. 247 

dea but what is consonant therewith, or in other words, 

a dwelling in God," and possessing the fulness of that 

promise, " I and my Father will come and make our abode 

with you." 

February 16. I found to-day some refreshment in 
conversing with that dear old saint, Mary Matthews, one 
f my dear love's first children, who endured much 
persecution for the truth's sake many years since. She 
^as called under the first sermon she heard him preach ; 
n nd after feeling the spirit of bondage nearly two years, 
was very clearly set at liberty, and walked many years 
in faith and love. It was she who was so blessed the first 
Sabbath my dear husband introduced me into the kitchen 
among those who met there, and she has enjoyed a fuller 
liberty ever since. — She told me — That on the day after 
the preaching, in the last week, having undertaken to 
open the door in time for the morning service, she took 
the key of the room for that purpose, and believed the 
Lord would awake her in time. About two in the morn- 
ing (instead of five) she was awaked with an extraor- 
dinary power of God. She thought, I must rise and 
pray. She came down and broke up the fire, and being 
in a little house all alone, she sat down to meditate, and 
give full scope to the Spirit. She took up her hymn- 
book, but could not read, for, said she, " All around me 
seemed God ! It appeared to me as if the room was full 
of heavenly spirits. I laid the book down, and falling 
back in my chair, I remembered no more of any thing 
outward, but thought I was at the threshold of a most 
beautiful place. I could just look in. — The first thing I 
saw was the Lord Jesus sitting on a throne ! There was 
a beautiful crown over his head ! It did not seem to bear 
with a weight, but as if it was suspended there, and as 
he turned his head, it turned with him. A glorious light 
appeared on one side, — and all around him was glory ! 
I thought on that word of St. Paul, — Who dwellethin light 
unapproachable ! Turning my eye alittle, I saw close to my 
Saviour my dear minister, Mr. Fletcher ! He looked con- 



248 THE LIFE OF [PART \'I. 

tinually on the Lord Jesus with a sweet smile. But he 
had a very different appearance from what he had when 
in the body, and yet there was such an exact resemblance, 
that I could have known him among a thousand ! Fea- 
tures and limbs just the same, but not of flesh. It was 
what I cannot describe, all light ! I know not what to 
call it ! I never saw any thing like it. It was, I thought, 
such a body as could go thousands of miles in a moment !* 
There were several passed who had the same appear- 
ance ; and I seemed to have lost my old weak shaking 
bodv ! I seemed to myself as if 1 could have gone to 
the world's end as light as air! I looked on him a leng 
time, and observed every feature with its old likeness. 
He then turned his eyes on me, and held out his hand to 
me just as he used to do. After this, the whole disap- 
peared, and I came to myself, and found it was just the 
time when I should open the preaching-house door." — I 
found her words a comfort to met Ah ! my dear hus- 
band was a suffering member here ; but he is now a 
bright star in glory. 

1 am amazed to see how the Almighty appears for me 
in outward things. Night and day I have a sense of 

safety. 1 feel as ^ tne an g els °f tne Lord encamped 
round about me ! Though we are alone, I and the two 
*irls in this house, sometimes only Sally and me, no long 
winter night seems to have any thing dreary to me! 
Indeed life and death are equal, the will of God is all! 
I feel also a quiet acquiescence in the will of God. His 
will shall be my choice ! I have no other rest on earth. 
Yet I have not joy '. But I will lie in his hands for this 

also. 

Some thoughts have arisen in my mind on this subject. 
There has long been a question between two sorts of 

« What a description ! Far beyond her powers. Ed. 

+ Hovv wonderful are the ways of God ! Instead of that "joy un- 
speakable, and full of glorv," which this devoted woman so earnestly 
desired He took this way to comfort her ! \nd what a mystery of love 
even in'this, that he should give it to her, not directly, but at second 
tiaad ! £(?. 



r\RT VI.] MRS * FLETCHER. 249 

r elicious professors, both devoted to God. The one part 

-aV,° " A chiId of God labourin £ U P P erfection ' s hil1 may 
J,' e in darkness and obscurity for a time, in order to his 
further purification." The others say, " Nay, there can 
be no darkness but from the displeasure of God ! neither 
is there any true holiness but in proportion to this joy." 

But what do we mean by darkness ? And what do we 
mean by joy ? Many blend the idea of darkness with 
deadness. They suppose such to have no savour of 
divine things. They do not mourn after Jesus, as one 
•jsho mourns for her first-born. They can be content with 
worldly rest. They look more to men and means for help 
than singly to Jesus. They are indeed pained sometimes 
because they have no more life ; but their treasure is 
■still here. Such darkness certainly the true believer 
Joes not feel. The experience of Mr. Brainerd is a fine 
comment on this. A soul thirsting (in general) after the 
full mind of Christ, — whose conscience is truly tender, 
to whom the world is crucified, and who has no relish 
but for the things of another life — Whose eye is really 
fixed, " not on the things which are seen, but on the 
things which are not seen" — To whom the prospect of 
a nearly approaching death is pleasant, from a firm con- 
fidence of final salvation, though that confidence may be 
oft assaulted ; and who feels an intense, though mournful, 
desire after the whole mind of Christ ; — and an abiding 
filial fear of offending God. — Such a soul may find some- 
times great obscurity, as if its Saviour was hidden — as if 
the Lord shut himself up within stone walls, which 
prayer could not pass through ; — so that even strong sup- 
plication and prayer shall seem to feel resistance. As 
when Jacob wrestled with the Angel, it seemed as if he 
wanted to get loose from Jacob's grasp, without giving 
him the blessing. — As when our Lord gave that (seem- 
ingly) harsh answer to the Canaanitish woman, — " It is 
not meet to take the children's bread and give it unto 
do«:s !" Was it to discourage and drive her back ? Was 
it from wrath he spoke ? Ah, no ! It was to try and to 



250 THE LIFE OF [PART \I. 

strengthen her faith by exercise ; and to increase her 
blessing, when he pronounced that word, " O woman, 
great is thy faith ! be it unto thee even as thou wilt." 
We have often a wrong idea of faith. — When the apostle 
says, " I have fought the good fight, I have kept the 
faith," — How do we understand him ? Some say, — " He 
fought against sin, — He was firm in persecution,— and he 
always believed. His soul was so full of light and power 
that he could not help believing." Was there then no 
conflict in believing ? When St. Paul says, Cast not away 
your confidence, does he mean that they could not cast it 
away ? Were they to hold it fast, when it needed no 
holding ? And is it thus that it should have great recom- 
pense of reward? 

But does not the whole tenor of Scripture speak of 
the Christian soldier, as " fighting the fisht of faith ?'■' 
And what is faith, but "the believing of things unseen ?" 
" Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have 
believed." And to Nathaniel, our Lord says, — " Because 
I said, Under the fig-tree I saw thee, believed thou? 
Thou shalt see greater things than these". 

It seems to me, therefore, That the way of holiness 
is to strive every moment to " look unto Jesus as the 
author and finisher of our faith ;" and while the soul is 
•o continually hanging on him. let it not esteem it a 
strange thing, if it should feel the powers of darkness 
surround it, inducing horror and dismay ! If the believer 
feel as though the Angel of the covenant struggled against 
him ; as if he would go away and leave the soul unblest. 
It may seem to have even a rebuke instead of a blessing, 
like the Canaanitish woman ; — nay, it may feel as if all 
its strength was failing, so that it could wrestle no longer. 
—Perhaps the day begins to break ! Death seems at the 
door ! and the fainting soul cries out, O, what is all my 
wrestling come to ! My day of grace is gone, and I am 
not saved ! But the very next moment may bring the 
" New name of Israel! As a Prince, thou hast power 
with God, and hast prevailed." 



\RT VI.] MRS * FLETCHER. ^Oi 

June I9tli- I now see clearly what I want. My soul 

• - not brought fully into the element of love. There is 
'"fulness of love, or, " a perfect love, which casts out 
ill fear.'' I have not perfect resignation ; yet my will 
never seems to oppose God. I have not perfect peace ; 
t i« disturbed by temptation. I have not perfect union 
vith God ; clouds come between. — In short, that salva- 
tion I f elt at Hoxton, and which I now feel, is like Israel 
>vben on the borders of Canaan. But I am not put in 
full possession. I do not dwell in love. I am determined, 
however, never to rest short of it ; and I believe that is 
the meaning of the promise so impressed upon my mind, 

• • An abundant entrance shall be ministered unto you into 
the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ." Lord, hasten the 
hour! I have no hope but from Thee. " It is not of 
bim that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God 
that showeth mercy ! Not by might nor by power, but 
bv my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts !" 

Well, — if I am thus perfectly saved, I shall be the 
greatest monument of mercy ! For since that time I 
W as blessed at Hoxton, how often have I sunk back from 
that liberty of faith ! and though the divine change 
has ever since remained on my soul, yet there have 
been times in which I have been a monster in my own 
eyes, for I have many times found self, and from that 
root, every evil springing up in my soul. 

I would give a list of the evils I have felt, but, alas '. 
when I attempt it, I am lost ! I cannot find any words 
to express myself in. But this I will say, for the com- 
fort of some who have known these things, and into 
whose hand this account may fall, that wherein they 
have lamented their inbred corruption, I have much 
more cause for lamentation. 

Oh ! if I were but for one hour permitted to enter 
heaven, that I might throw myself at the feet of all 
whom I have offended, or hindered, by my pride, self- 
will, and other evils, it would yield me some consola- 
tion. — Yet I believe I shall be delivered from them all. 



252 THE LIFE OF [PART \I. 

and even from this painful reflection. Yes, I shall ; th e 
God of love hath said, " Thou shalt walk with me i n 
white — I will make thee worthy !" And my soul has of 
late felt a great renewal of that promise. Yes, I shall 
overcome ! I begin, though but faintly, to shout victory ! 
I shall overcome ! for 1 singly trust in Jesus. 

Friday, June 23. Three days ago, as I was thinking 
of the above words, — " I am not brought into the element 
of love," a thought came into my mind. Thou waitest 
and pleadest to be brought into another state : — Abide in 
Jesus! That is the way to love, and to bring forth" all 
good fruit. I weighed it over in my mind, and saw that 
it was so. I have Jesus ! and have I not all in him ? 
Those words shone with light on my heart, " Christ is 
made of God unto you, wisdom, righteousness, sanctifica- 
tion, and redemption." 1 felt I ought to rejoice in my 
privilege ; the privileges of my present dispensation. 
1 am brought into a state of love ; and that I do not 
abundantly grow therein is, because I do not abide every 
moment in a quiet peaceable confidence, believing the 
Lord will enable me to glorify him in and through every 
thing. These words were yesterday, and are still, the 
language of my soul, 

" No condemnation now I dread ; 

Jesus, and all in Him is mine ; 
Alive in Him, my living head, 

And just in righteousness divine. 
Bold I approach th' eternal throne, 
And claim the crown thro' Christ my own." 

Friday, July 21. O, the union my spirit feels with 
my dear husband i Time makes no difference to me. 
As I was offering up my trials to the Lord to-day, these 
words came to my mind, " Ask of the Lord grace to 
suffer as much, and as long as he pleases. 1 " I thought, 
so I will. I will not even wish to have it mitigated. 

Saturday, July 22. Yesterday I was at the Chapel 
in Madely Wood, and found much freedom of spirit 
while speaking on these words,—" Bring my soul out of 



PART VI.] MRS ' LETCHER. 253 

prison, that I may praise Thy name." This morning I 

r-el my soul cast on tiie Lorc! ' and was blessed in 
reading those words of Fenelon, " Your letter leaves 
m e nothing to wish for. It confesses all that is past, and 
"romises every thing for the future. With regard to 
the Vst, you need only leave it to God, with an humble 
confidence, and repair it by a constant fidelity. You 
a «k what penances are required for the past ? Can we 
perform greater, or more salutary ones, than bearing 
our present crosses 1 The best reparation of our past 
vanities is the being humble, and content that God should 
humble us. The most rigorous of all penances if, 
notwithstanding all our dislikes and weariness, to do daily 
and hourly the will of God rather than our own."* 

Thursday, July 27. For some days I have felt keen 
darts from the enemy, and such a sense of being alone 
in the world as 1 cannot express. But last night, in the. 
midst of these feelings, I felt a strong impression that my 
trials were increased by my not courageously believing 
eV f rv moment that the Lord has absolutely undertaken 
nl v r whole cause. And I am convinced that when Satan 
pursues me with glooms and threatenings, I ought to 
believe that all is permitted to exercise my faith and 
patience. I feel at all times that my heart has embraced 
the glory of God, as my one sole care, and therefore I have 
nothing to do even with my state, whether it is joyous or 
sad, but only to cling to the covenant I have entered into, 
of being a whole burnt-sacrifice to the Lord ; and leave 
him to choose for me every moment, who is in himself 
all wisdom and love. This thought brought with it a 
sweet peace ; and these words were applied to my soul, 
•'Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath 
great recompense of reward, for ye have need of pa- 
tience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye may 
receive the promise." I see also that I must singly trust 

« How well some Romanists have written on Christian obedknct ' O 

oo » 



VI. 



"<JS-1 THE LIFE OF [PARj 

m Jesus, resolved to believe that he will make me more 
than conqueror through all. '" None ever trusted in him 
and was confounded." My one cry therefore shall be 
'• Lord, glorify thyself in thy poor creature, and that is 
enough."' In the night I was exercised V vith pain more 
than common, but my mind seemed to be fixed on thi« 
Lord, glorify thyself! I slept ; and waked in that thought 
and it brought peace. 

August 3. This time of the year returning affects me 

much. This day twelve months was the last in which 

my dear husband enjoyed perfect health, and the last in 

which he visited his people. Oh ! how does every hour 

present the past scenes to my view ! But I find power to 

live in the spirit of sacrifice. As I was this morning 

reading Mr. Wesley's note on Judges, chap.^iv. 14. it 

was made a blessing to me. It is said of Barak, " He 

went down from Mount Tabor," — Mr. Wesley adds, 

" He did not make use of the advantage which he had of 

the hill, where he might have been out of the reach of 

Sisera's iron chariots. He boldly marches down into the 

valley, to give him the opportunity of using his chariots 

and horses, that so the victory might be more glorious." 

>o it seems to be with me. When I had every help 

and every comfort, he brought me into the valley 

indeed! unto the loss of all my earthly comforts; and 

into deep and fierce temptation. And yet those very 

things which would have been a great trial to me, 

and a great alarm to my fears, when I had my dearest 

companion with me, are nevertheless rendered easy; 

and my Captain going before, seems to gain for me an easy 

victory. lie is my light in difficulties, my protection in 

dangers, and my continual shield. But that word of the 

Lord spoken to Gideon, •' The people are too many for 

v-e to deliver Israel by them," casts a still clearer light 

>;,n my path. I was the happiest of women ! I had every 

t hinsi; which friendship, the most heavenly and refined, 

.culd give. My helps were too many ; I could not fee) 



PART VI.] 



MRS FLETCHER. ~'J :t 



dc ep nothin-ne^. God has stripped me ot all ! lei 
T } 11 look every moment for the complete victory. 
Mondav, August 1 4 . How awful a Sabbath was y ester- 
, to me ! The remembrance of the tremendous scene 
!l it day twelve months deeply penetrated my heart. 
The whole of the last week has been to me very solemn. 
r ve rv hour has pointed out some part of the bitter cup 
%kh I have drank, and do still deeply drink of. 
" This day has also been a time of deep examination. 
What difference do I find between this and the last four- 
teenth of August, the day of my dear husband's death ? 
J find a good deal many ways. First, I have more ve- 
hement longing after Christ. Secondly, I am stript of all 
i e *ire of human comforts, and dead to earth in a fuller 
decree than I ever was before in any part of my life. 
Thirdly, That fierce conflict of temptation which I endu- 
red at that time, has wrought for my good. Fourthly, I 
;1 ,n more constant and faithful in private prayer, indeed 
[t j ? mv one business ; and I have a more watchful spirit. 
Fifthly. I feel a more perfect resignation ; and though rn\ 
wound continually bleeds, yet I can continually say, Thy 
will be done. Yet nothing can supply the place of the 
full indwelling Spirit. The Lord is ever with me, I have 
surprising helps and deliverances, and victory in every 
trial. I feel I am crucified to the world ; but yet I v.ai.t 
the promise of the Father in its fulness. 

Tuesday, August 15. Yesterday being (according to 
the days of the month) the annual return of the time 
when my dearest love departed this life, I set it apart 
for praver and close examination, to know what 1 had 
Alined or lost in this black year. Most of the day I was 
in heaviness ; but by the light of God I clearly discerned 
his powerful hand was upon me. The entire deadness 
1 find to every thing worldly ; the purity in which the 
Lord continually keeps my soul ; the increasing vigour 
of my spiritual affections ; my great love for souls, and 
abundant liberty in speaking to them, with the many de- 
crees of resignation to the divine will which 1 i'ec] my 



256 THE LIFE OP [PART VI. 

soul sunk into ; — and that spirit of love which ever 
prompts me to turn the other cheek, all give me good 
hope. Now, thought I, though I felt a measure of all 
this before, is not the increase of all these an evident 
mark, that the work of God is deepened in my soul? I 
saw it was so, and was constrained to cry out, IVris hath 
Ged wrought! 

I then was led to reflect on my union with my dear 
husband, and saw how much of the heavenly state we had 
enjoyed together ; and it seemed as if I so longed to give 
up all for God, that I offered up to his divine will even 
our eternal union, (if it was in reality, as many suppose, 
that separate spirits forget all they have known and loved 
here) that his will might be done ! I seemed content, so 
my dearest love, and my own soul, were lost in his im- 
mensity, and should know each other no more ! I then 
found, as it were, a conversation carried on in my mind, 
The question arose, what part of our union can heaven 
dissolve ? It will take away all that was painful — such as 
our fears for each other's safety, our separations, &c. 
But what of the pleasant part can heaven dissolve ? I 
answered from the bottom of my heart, Nothing, Lord, 
nothing ! Clear as light it appeared before me, that hea- 
ven could not dissolve any thing which agreed with its 
own nature. Let two drops of water, two flames of fire, of 
any two quantities of the same element, be put together, 
they would not destroy each other, but would be increased. 
So what came down from God, would, when-returned to 
its source, live for ever, and be corroborated, but not 
lessened. 

I am quite at a loss for words to describe the feelings 
of that hour ! but it fixed in my soul an assurance of our 
eternal union. And as it increased my tender affectioa 
towards my dear husband, so it seemed to spread it to 
all around. I felt it reflect as it were backwards and 
forwards, to and from all the heavenly host ; all seemed 
doubly dear through that endearing love I found to him. 
At the same moment, a peculiar sense of union with roy 



PART VI.j MRS. FLETCHER. 257 

friend Ryan sprang up in my soul ; and I seemed to wor- 
ship with them both before the throne. As I rose from 
my knees, I had an application of these words, as from 
his own dear mouth, 

" The days that in heaven they spend, 
For ever and ever shall last." 

0. what did I feel ! my eyes overflowed with tears, and 
my heart with praise ! 

November 15. Last Sunday (the 12th) was to me a 
heavy day. That was the day my dear husband gave 
himself to me, and that I gave myself to him, or rather 
the Lord gave us to each other. But I was enabled to 
go through the duty which the Lord called me to that 
(lav, with calmness and resignation. 

This day I had, at my ten o'clock hour, much freedom 
in pouring out my heart to the Lord. I prayed that I 
might have an increase of faith. I then opened an old 
fiook which helped me to make some reflections very 
suitable to the present posture of my mind. I had been 
considering whether I might expect as fully to glorify my 
Saviour as one who had been less guilty and sinful ? For 
two days that question had been uppermost in my heart, 
and the following words much in my mouth, 

" If so poor a worm as I 

May to thy great glory live .'" 

But to-day I was led into the following considerations : 
the Lord Jesus hath said, They to whom much is forgiven , 
love much, but they to whom (comparatively) little is for- 
given, love little : and this is corroborated by three para- 
bles, The lost sheep, the piece of money, and the prodigal 
son. But why is it so ? Can I find sufficient ground for 
my faith to set its foot upon ? The following thoughts 
occurred to my mind. First, We generally love best 
what has cost us most. My Saviour has drunk a more 
bitter draught for me, than for many ;* therefore he hath 

* Here is a fine illustration of those words of the Apostle, " In lowli- 
ness of mind, let each esteem the other better than himself." Can we 
keep the unity of the spirit without this ? Ed. 



258 THE LIFE OF [PART VL 

paid a higher price for me. All the pain, shame, and 
evil consequences of sin, " He hath borne in his own 
body ; He hath borne my grief and carried my sorrows," 
Well then, I have more to love him for than any other. 

Secondly, The author observes, " It is certain we 
may believe that God will give them the first place in his 
esteem, who have glorified him most in this world." 
But who are they ? Doubtless those who believe most, 
— who come nearest to the faith of Abraham ; for to be- 
lieve in God's faithfulness to his promises, and in his 
power to perform them, is to give him glory. Rom. iv. 
20, 21. ' ; He staggered not at the promise through 
unbelief, but was strong in faith giving glory to God ; 
and being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he 
was able also to perform." From hence it follows, that 
to believe the truth and faithfulness of God in his pro- 
mises, and in his power to perform, (even in those cases 
where the performance is most difficult and rare,) is a 
greater glorifying of God, and shows a higher degree of 
iaith, than to believe in ordinary cases only, wherein the 
belief is not so generous and noble, or so remote from 
the common principles of reason. The high commenda- 
tion of Abraham's faith, by which he is said to give glory 
Jo God, (i. e. in a very signal and transcendent manner), 
is expressed in these words, Who against hope believed in 
hope. His faith breaking through the strong oppositions, 
which the dictates of reason and nature made against it, 
was highly pleasing to God, and cast an abundance of 
glory upon him in that respect. Hence he pronounced 
him the father of the faithful, and made him the father of 
many nations ; that is, he conferred and settled this great 
dignity upon Abraham, to be for ever after reputed and 
acknowledged the great exemplar, or pattern of all, who 
jo the end of the world should believe; and who for 
their number should equalize many nations. Therefore, 
that believing in God which accords most with this faith 
af Abraham, hath most of the spirit and power of that 
*race, That which lifteth up itself in the soul against 



FART VI.] MRS. FLETCHER. 259 

the strongest assaults or encounters, must needs slorifv 
God more than that which hath only the common impedi- 
ments and obstructions to overcome. Now it is plain 
that he who hath been an inveterate and obdurate sinner, 
and the most deeply ungrateful ; and who hath on his 
conscience a heavier burden of guilt than any other ; — 
when he believes, I say, he hath much communion with 
Abraham in the excellency of his faith, and believeth 
against many fierce lions and bears in his way : against 
the strongest and most violent temptations to diffidence 
and despair. Whereas, he who hath no such mountains 
in the way for his faith to leap over, he who hath no such 
armed fears, no such imperious contradictions of sin to 
encounter, his faith, though it hold good correspondence 
with the faith of Abraham, in the nature and truth of it, 
yet it is far beneath it in that crowning property, where- 
by it gave glory to God so abundantly.* 

December 12. In prayer this morning, I was led to 
see the beauty of faith in reposing the whole soul on 
God. Surely, O Lord ! thou requirest nothing of me, 
but to believe on thee for all I want ! I find the strongest 
dart of Satan is against my faith. He tells me all day 
long, that I believe because I will believe, and not by 
the immediate gift of God — not by the operation of his 
Spirit. It seems that is the only hold Satan has on my 
soul. But was not my first word (when seven years 
old) an invitation to believe ? 

" Who on Jesus relies, without money or price, 
The pearl of forgiveness and holiness buys/' 

The same is often applied to me now : and does not 
the whole Scripture lead to, and require believing ? 

* " The weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den." To 
a mind less devoted than Mrs. Fletcher's, these speculations might be 
dangerous. 1 hey might lead to antinomianism ; which, as Mr. Wesley 
observes, (in the minutes of one of the first Conferences,) comes, in doc- 
trine, within a hair's breadth of the highest truths of the Gospel. Mrs, 
Fletcher, however, was preserved from this danger, and always found 
divine aid in the exercise of faith. By it she overcame: Ed, 



260 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

Were not the Jews rejected for unbelief? Was it not 
esteemed hardness of heart in Israel because they would 
not believe the bare promise of God, and so enter into 
the good land ? I feel a continual power to trust my 
all to Jesus, and the more I trust, the more it unites 
me to God. Then I do, I will trust Him, though 
legions of temptations appear to hinder ! What mercy ! 
I have no temptation to sin ! — no ; my soul hates all 
that God hates ! But every stroke is against my faith 
as if I believed too much. I prayed the Lord to direct 
me to some book on the subject, and found, as soon as I 
rose from my knees, one which I never saw before, 
among my dear husband's collection. I opened it on this 
subject, — " Christ the example of our faith." The 
v» riter observes on these words, " He is near that justifies 
me : who shall contend with me ?" — That Christ is 
brought in, as if uttering them before the high-priest"* 
tribunal, when they spit upon, and buffeted him. When 
he was also condemned by Pilate ; then he exercised 
faith in God his Father, "He is near that justifies me ;" 
and as in his condemnation he stood in our stead, so in 
this hope of his justification, he speaks in our stead also, 
-:.nd as representing us in both. And upon this the 
apostle pronounces in like words, concerning all be- 
lievers. (Rom. viii.) " It is God that justifieth ; who is 
he that condemneth ?" Christ was condemned ; yea. 
hath died, — who, therefore shall condemn ? We have 
this communion with Christ in his death and condemnar 
tion ; yea, in his very faith. If He trusted in God, so 
may we ; and we shall as certainly be delivered. Ob- 
serve, Christ also lived by faith. We are said (John i. 
16.) to " receive of his fulness, and grace for grace," 
that is, grace answerable, and like unto his, and so 
among others, faith. 

" To explain this, — First. — In some sense Christ had 
a faith for justification like to ours, though not a justifica- 
tion through faith, as we have. He went not out of 
himself to rely on another for righteousness, for his 



p\RT VI.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 261 

own was perfect: He was ' the Lord our righteousness. 
Vet He believed on God to justify him, and had recourse 
to God for justification. He is near (says he) that justifies 
/ne . If He had stood upon his own person merely, and 
upon his Divinity, there would have been no occasion 
tor such a speech ; but as He stood in our behalf there 
was ; for what need of justification, if He had not been, 
in some wav, exposed to condemnation ? He must there- 
fore be supposed to stand here at God's tribunal, as well 
as at Pilate's, with all our sins upon Him. And so Isaiah 
tells us in chap. liii. ' God laid on Him the iniquities of 
us all. He was made sin and a curse,' and stood not in 
danger of Pilate's condemnation only, but of God's too, 
unless He satisfied Him for all those sins. And when 
the wrath of God for sin came thus upon Him, His faith 
was put to it to trust and wait on God for justification, that 
fie might take off those sins, and His wrath from Him, 
and acknowledge Himself satisfied, and the Surety ac- 
quitted. Therefore, in the 22d Psalm, He is brought 
in as putting forth such a faith as we here speak of, 
crying out, J\Iy God! my God! when, as to sense, His 
God had forsaken Him. Yea, at the sixth verse, we find 
Him hrying himself at God's feet, lower than ever any 
man did ! I am a worm and no man, a worm which all 
tread on, and no one thinks it wrong to kill ; — and all 
this because He bore our sins ! 

" Xow his deliverance and justification from all these, 
(to be given him at his resurrection) was the matter, the 
business, he trusted God for ; even that he should rise 
again, and thus appear acquitted from them all. Secondly, 
Neither did he exercise faith for himself only, but for 
us also ; and that more than we are put to it to exercise 
for ourselves : for he, in emptying himself and dying, 
trusted God with the merit of all his sufferings before- 
hand ; there being such a countless multitude of souls 
to be saved thereby to the end of the world. God 
trusted Christ before he came into the world, and saved 



262 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

millions of souls upon his voluntary offering and engage- 
ment, and then Christ at his death trusted God again as 
much.* In Hebrews ii. 12, 13, 14. it is made an argu- 
ment that Christ became a man like us, because he was 
put to live by faith, and the apostle brings in these words 
a* prophesied of Him, — ' I will put my trust in Him, 1 
a- a proof of his being so constituted. Now how should 
the consideration of these things help us to believe, since, 
in this example of Christ, we have the highest instance 
of believing that ever was. Hast thou the guilt of in- 
numerable sins upon thee ? Consider n-hat Christ had, 
though not his own. Luther boldly says, ' Christ was 
the greatest sinner that ever was' — that is, by imputa- 
tion. And yet he trusted God to justify him from all, 
and to raise him up from under the wrath due to them. 
Dost thou say, Christ was God, and knew he could 
satisfy ; — but I am a sinful man ! Well, but if thou art 
one who castest thyself on Christ, and believest on him, 
thou art made one with Christ, and Christ speaking these 
words, He is near that justifieth, spake them in thy name 
•as well as his own, for he stood in thy stead. It was 
only thy sins, and those of others, which exposed him to 
condemnation ! and thou seest what his confidence wa3 
beforehand, that God would justify him. And if he had 
left any of them unsatisfied for, he had not been justified. 
But by his being justified from all sin, shall all sinners be 
justified who believe in him. Certainly for this very 
reason our sins shall not hinder our coming to God. He 
then brings in those words, (John xvii.) ' For their sake* 
I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through 

* " Great is the mystery of godliness," especially in every thing respect- 
ing the Holy Trinity. Eternity will be employed in developing the dmnitr 
and glory of our redemption. That the Fathie should become the God 
ef the Son, by the incarnation ! And that " God manifest in the flesh," 
should believe, obey, and suffer; and " through the Eternal Spirit," thus 
'• offer himself a sacrifice to God," in the truth of the nature which he had 
a«umed— What a depth is here ! » Angels desire to look into it." The 
whole universe is interested in it. and will be affected by it for ever. Ed. 



... 1 MRS. FLETCHER. 263 

PART VI.J 

4. ti, ' Showing how we possess all spiritual b ess- 
the triii"' => 

•„<« in Christ Jesus. 

I found a sweet and clear light shine on the above, and 
„v other passages of the book ; and praised God for 
!he answer of prayer. In short, 1 felt we have all in 
rhrist —and that they feel it most who believe most! 

December 28. My soul seems entirely fixed on the 
i rv of God ! For some days that thought has been 
g ntinually in my mind, O that I could really know that 
he did glorify himself on me I* If I was sure that all I 
feel is according to his will, then whatever sorrow or 
onflicts I endure I should have a continual heaven. 1 
entreated the Lord to show me what it was to glorify 
him ; a n(1 m vvnat manner the soul could bring him most 

o-lory. 

° In a few days my prayer was in part answered. He 
showed me, if a lamp was set on the middle of a table, 
and several crystals around it, some more, some less 
clear, that the clearest crystal would best reflect that 
brightness of the lamp. As to my question, Which were 
the'souls that brought most glory to God ? I was taught, 
that I must judge nothing before the time, for no true judg- 
ment could be formed till that day " when he should 
come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them 
that believe !" Then those who had been most emptied 
of self, most deeply humbled, and most fully prepared to 
receive and reflect the image of Christ, should eternally 
bear the highest resemblance to their Lord. I saw all 
<rood, all glory was in Him, and nothing could bring hon- 
our to God, but our becoming nothing, that he might be 
all in all ! I say, I saw it, but I mean in a far deeper 
sense than ever I did before ! O how short are words ! 
1 used to feel a pain in writing a diary, because my 
words seemed to convey more than I meant ; but now 

* The " unction of the Holy One," giving a consciousness of our con- 
formity to the Son of God, and to his word s can alone bestow or continue- 
this bigh y. >ilege , Ed, 



264 ?HE LIFE OF [p ARt yj 

for some time I have felt just the contrary. I feel morp 
than I can express. 

January 2, 1787. My mind has been yesterday and 
to-day, much affected with the thought of beginning a 
new year. This day five years I left Cross-Hall in con> 
pany with my dearest husband. O, what have I seen in five 
years ! And what may 1 see before the end of the two 
next ? Those words have been much with me for some 
days, — " Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." 

that 1 may learn to do it in the most perfect manner ! 

I am amazed at the goodness of the Lord in many 
things. I see him opening all my way before me day by 
day. He cuts out my work, and shows me how to employ 
every hour. My heavy affliction, which I continually 
feel from the loss of my de-rest love, I do find power 
to offer up each moment to the Lord ! Yea, I praise him 
in the midst of my sorrow that i have such a sacrifice to 
offer. What hath my Savionr done and suffered for me ! 

1 shall not repent when I get to glory that I have suffered 
a little for Him. Though of all I h;<ve f-lt nothing ever 
came near this ! It has left the finest strings of nature 
bleeding! But all is well. I feel my mind drawn to live 
on that word, — Thy will be done. In that I rest, and will 
for ever rest. My soul, wait thou only upon God, for of 
him cometh my salvation. A deep watchful spirit is what 
I am praying and waiting for. I mean that continual 
cleaving to Jeaas, which is implied in that word, — Thojt 
wilt keep him in perfeet peace, whose mind is stayed on 
Thee. 

January 9. Thinking this morning of my temptation, 
that my feeling of God is not sensible, and consequently 
my joy but weak ; — the following thought came to my 
mind, Do I not believe the whole world lieth in the wicked 
one, and that he leadeth them captive at his will ? But 
was I conscious of his presence or power in any manner 
that could be called sensible ? I was not. Do I not be- 
lieve this was my own state ? I do : I know I abode in 



PART VI-] MR *' PLETCHER - 26& 

the mcked one, and was led captive at his vill. But I 
kn0W I was in him, by the way and disposition I walked 
in I walked in the way to hell, adding sin to sin ; v.s- 
f e 'pt when now and then a touch of God interfered. 
wdked in the disposition of loving and caring for life ; I 
took niV own care on myself, and sought my own happi- 
„L out of God. But I called all this following my rea- 
«on~ and my understanding, so that all the work ot the 
wic'ked one on the spirit was invisible, and hidden from 
me. Now the apostle says, " As ye have rendered 
vour members servants to iniquity, so render them unto 
righteousness.' 1 Thus the work of God on the spirit is 
invisible, and hidden many times. But I have known 
the sensible deliverance, and the converting power ; and 
now also he leads me in a way and disposition just con- 
trary to what I was— in the way to heaven, for 1 feel ny 
treasure is there, though I seem to know only the marks 
of his feet. I feel my wishes dead to all of earth. I to el 
his will is my refuge 1 and as to my disposition, I long for 
full conformity to him. I live in an act of offering up 
mv whole self to God almost every moment with a blessed 
degree of peaceful earnestness. And therefore I will 
rejoice in this. If I knew before that I was in the evil 
one, and led by his will, though 1 had only a hidden 
communion ; I know now I dwell in God, and am led by 
his will, though I have not what some call sensible joy.* 
But I seem to have given my hand to God, as a chill to 
its mother, and he leads me hour by hour. The above 
thought was much blest to me. A sweet light skone on 
the work of grace in my soul, and I have since quietiy 
leaned upon the bosom of my Saviour. 

January 10. All day yesterday my faith seemed to 
o-row stronger, and more nakedly to hang on Jesus. Now 
and then also sweet glimpses of the glorious power of 

* How greatly was she perplexed on this point by the injudicious con- 
versation of some of her friends, whom the Lord, for wise and good rea- 
kms, led in a way more directly sensible ! Ed. 

23 



266 THE Lff<E OF [part VI. 

faith opened before me. I said, Lord, give me a word to 
be as a sword in my hand ! Immediately it came into 
my mind, 

" I shall o'ercome through faith alone, 
And stand entire at last." 

April 30. Having been called to take a journey, I 
often thought, while changing from place to place, and 
meeting with some things rather difficult, that I was as a 
ball which could never fall wrong. I left all to God, 
and every thing came right. Yet my loss and painful 
remembrance of what the circumcising knife of death had 
done, seemed to be renewed by every scene. Herein I 
learned a lesson. — Many had said, a journey would help 
me ; variety of objects would tend to lessen my grief. 
But I did not find it so. My health was more poorly than 
at home, and sorrow seemed increased, and not lessened, 
by all I met with. Nevertheless I saw the will of God, 
and can say, He gave me to acquiesce every moment ; 
and whatever my body might feel, my soul gained good, 
and my faith is much increased by a thousand instances 
of the Jove and care of my adorable Saviour manifested 
to me in that season. Deep humiliation attended me in 
all my exercises, public or private ; and I know the 
journey was of the Lord. 

May 3. Since my return home, I have felt my soul 
sink deeper into God. Some time ago I was awaked 
with these words, 

" Give to the winds thy fears, 
Hope, and be undismay'd ; 
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears, 
God shall lift up thy head." 

Two days ago I was stirred up with reading those 
words in Dr. Doddridge's life, " There must be an en- 
largement of soul before any remarkable success on 
others, and a great diligence in prayer and strict watch- 
fulness over my own soul, previous to any remarkable 
and habitual enlargement in my ministry ; and deep hu- 
miliation must precede both." I cried for power to 



„„,„,! MRS. FLETCHER. 267 

PART VI.J * 

j w. nraver. I was afterward much tempted, but 
L p'yer I L how perfect a sacrifice Christ had paul 
To E Father for all my sins ! I at this moment exult 
in the thought, 

» Fully absolv'd through this I am, 

From fear and sin, from guilt and shame. 

Wust 16. All this last fortnight has been a time 01 
e reat trial to me ; I think as deep as in the last yea! . 
Every hour presented some part of the awful scene. A 
•ew days before the anniversary of my dear love s death. 
i waked one morning out of a dream, in some measure 
spiritual, but could recollect little of it. I vvas thinking 
Will the Lord indulge me on that day with such com- 
munion with my dear love as he did on the last four- 
teenth of August? These words were then applied to 
niy mind, 

" Be in all alike resign'd, 
Jesu's was a patient mind." 

From which I thought, I would not look for it; I saw 
the leading of the Spirit at this time was quiet resigna- 
tion. In that posture therefore I have held my soul be- 
fore him : and on that day I did not find any such com- 
munion as on the former anniversary. 

December 8th. Sally being ill with a bad cough, 
which that morning seemed worse, her head also much 
affected, and some fever, I asked of the Lord in submis- 
sion, her restoration. She scarcely coughed afterward ! 
Her head was no more affected, and she found herself, 
from that time, quite well ! This particular answer to 
prayer raised much thankfulness in my heart. O Lord 
Jesus ! I ask in thy name to be made the temple of God 
through the Spirit ! O Lord, in Jesu's name I ask, do 

all thy will ! 

December 10th. For two days various texts have 
dwelt on my mind, relating to suffering ; and yesterday an 
observation which Mr. Home made in his sermon was 
blest to me, viz. That those virtues were most valuable, 
that most prepared us for suffering, because by that we 



268 THE LIFE OP [PART y h 

were most conformable to our suffering Head. I know 
not the cause, but my spirit has all day been much de- 
pressed. I am very poorly in body : and the sense of 
my separation from my precious love seems to enter as 
iron into my soul. But blessed be the Lord, it does not 
prevent me from following the order of my God. 

December 17th. These words were given me, with 
some power, >; With the Lord is plenteous redemption 
and He shall save Israel from all his sins." I have found 
some answers to prayer this week, and my soul ig 
thirsting and waiting for the fulfilment of this promise. 
Lord, show me how I may be most perfectly pleasing 
unto thee ! Desire increases in my soul ; yet there is a 
want unsupplied. I long to know how to get into a 
full and close communion. 

It seems to me, since prayer this afternoon, that there 
is but this one way, a looking continually unto Jesus, as 
the Israelites to the brazen serpent. 

January 10, 1788. And do I see the beginning of 
another year ! I can still set to my seal, the Lord hears 
and answers prayer. O that this year may all be devoted 
to thee, my adorable Head. 

January 17. I was blest last night in what Mr. Horne 
said of his former experience, That " He took those 
words, Pray without ceasing, in a literal sense, and strove 
every moment to be in the real act of prayer. Soon 
after he was brought into so spiritual a frame that 
wherever he went, he carried such a sense of the awful 
presence of God as cannot be expressed." O my Saviour 
1 want more of this ! My soul has been kept this day 
going out after God ; but I want a fulness which I can- 
not think but it is the will of God to give. These words 
are much on my mind, Let patience have its perfect work. 
And, After ye have suffered awhile, He izill strengthen, 
■stablish, settle you. I have strangely seen the hand of 
God in all things ! Every thing tells me, the hairs of my 
head are numbered. Yet I cannot rest till I can more" 
fully glorify my God. Lord, increase my faith ! 



PART VI.] M RS ' FLETCHER. ^69 

T fl mnrv29. My way is the way of heaviness. There 
Zlt of sorrow lies on my spirit ; I cannot account 

i:r 8 oit:z,e^ &., i ***** ^m 

a r hnsband used to express the same thing ; but Oh ! 

td It then understand him. Had 1 but now the ad- 
IfnLe of his dear company, how different a use could I 
nle of i I Then I had him to flee to in every rouble. 
^ < Ca es by dividing were hushed into peace." W 

"remember he" used to say, « What others ;we« satisfied 
with he was not." And really so it is ; for I am sure 1 
he' morl of God than I had then. And yet I was then 
t teSed very often ;-and had I kept the presence 
of God, as I now do, I should have called it walking n 
constant peace. But Oh! I want a clear passage into 
the heart of my Beloved ! I think I can truly say, I 
wrestle not with flesh and blood," I feel no temptation to 
any sin. But I am fiercely attacked with weights oi 
sorrow, and thoughts that like barbed arrows tear my 

heart. . , v T i 

Thi* day I have covenanted afresh with the Lord, to 

try what a total abandonment will do. From this day, 

(four o'clock in the afternoon, January 29,) I abandon 

invself without reserve, delivering up myself into the 

hands of God, to the end that He may execute on me 

Hi« whole will, whether in the way of justice or mercy. 

I will embrace all sufferings of every kind ; though I 

should see that they are the consequences of my former 

sins, or present follies. Yea, I am thine, my Jesus, 

save me! If thou wilt not save me, I am lost for evert 

But I will singly trust in Jesus ! I will turn to no other 

for help. I have long tried what creatures could do, 

but all in vain. Now I will renounce all reasonings — 

all reflections on my state ; and only fix the eye of my 

soul on Jesus, always content with what thou givest me. 

Lord ! though it should only be a bare remembrance of 

•hv presence, and an alacrity to meet thy will : and thi* 

23 * 



270 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

Thou dost give. The strongest desire of my soul is 
that Thy will may be done in me. 

1 was blest to-day by an observation in a spiritual 
writer — " Not to come out of abandonment, in the ex- 
treme pains through which we pass, is something ; but 
the not coming out of repose in this abandonment, what- 
ever trials we may pass through, in all the rough paths 
where we may tread, — this it is which is very precious 
in the sight of God."* Again she observes, " Like as 
he who is in a ship moves not himself, but leaves him- 
self to be moved by the motion of the ship in which he 
is ; so the heart which is embarked in the divine good 
pleasure, ought not have any will of its own, but leave 
itself to be carried by the will of God." 

February 12. This morning, in my hour of prayer, 
I had some sweet glimpses of the all-sufficiency of Christ. 
He bore the whole weight of my sins before I had com- 
mitted one ; yea, before I was in being He made a full, 
perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, 
"' for the sins of the whole world." Again, I had a feeling 
sense of these words, '■' He is made of God unto us, wis- 
dom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemp- 
tion." I was led much to cry for a strong and powerful 
iliith, and for deep humility. I find, on reflection, I love 
to be abased, yea, I embrace contempt as with open arms : 
but I do not promptly acquiesce, when the trial presents 
itself. I rather start back,! and only embrace it in the 

* This high attainment in the divine life may not be easily understood, 
as expressed by this " Spiritual Writer." The inspired writers express it 
w ith the utmost plainness and simplicity. It is indeed the being saved from 
all self-will, and in consequence, the resting every moment in the will of 
God. It is thus only %ve can " rejoice evermore, and in every thing gire 
thanks." The faith by which we are thus saved can only be sustained by 
« praying without ceasing ;" as Kc-mpis finely expresses it, " To thee is my 
keart without a voice, and my silence speaketh unto thee !" Such is the 
victory given by " Christ's dwelling in the heart by faith. Ephesjan* iu. 
17. Ed. 

•} We ought to feel a repugnance, yea, " an abhorrence to that which is 
evil." But this should be attended with resignation to the Lord Jn $15 



PART VI.] MRS * FLETCHER. 271 

nd thought. Therefore, I am not so sunk into Christ 
^tobe fully a new creature. Lord, grant me this, and 
r.hall have an incontestable evidence of what thou hast 

Feb. 28. Thursday. On Tuesday night, as one was 

qivin*- " I do not desire t0 look on m y self at a11 ' I only 
w-mtlo look at Jesus Christ, for when I look on myself 
I reason." I felt it come with power to my heart, and 
ever -ince I have felt a farther lift in faith. 

April 3. Last Friday Mr. Wesley came. It was a 
time of hurry, but also of profit above any time I ever 
had with him before. I could not but discern a great 
.hange. His soul seems far more sunk into God, and 
such"an unction attends his word, that each sermon- 
was indeed spirit and life. In preaching on the Trinity, 
he observed, it was our duty to believe according to the 
word of Cod ; but we were not called to comprehend : — 
that was impossible. Bring me, said he, a worm that can 
comprehend a man, and I will show you a man that can 
comprehend God. He observed, that if three candles 
were burning in a room, the light was but one.* 

Many answers to prayer I found during the season they 
were here, and though my body is now too weak for any 
hurry, yet all was ordered well, and we were carried 
through with tolerable ease, and every opportunity was 
blest to my soul. 

Yesterday I heard, that dear Mr. Charles Wesley died 
on Saturday last! O, how often have we, in years that 
are past, taken sweet counsel together ! It has left a deep 
solemnity on my spirit. 

April 11. Last night I felt a peculiar liberty in praj'er, 
in begging for mercy in behalf of my friends in Switzer- 
land. It seems to me it will be answered through my 

abhorrence, and in this resignation, " the mind of Christ" principally con- 
sists, and they were constantly manifest in the whole of his blessed life and 
-onduct. Ed. 

' that men were satisfied thus to believe, and wait upon the Higfi 
and lofty One, that they might comprehend, in its glorious effects, the 
<tectrinc of the sacred three ! Ed. 



272 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

nephew. He grows in grace, and at some seasons appears 
to enjoy very deep communion with God. O, how shall 
I praise the Lord for his great goodness and abundant 
faithfulness to his poor creature I 

May 2. I often wish I had more time to attend to tnv 
diary : such wonderful answers to prayer are given t& 
me, as ought to be recorded. 

" Why should the wonders he hath wrought 
Be lost in darkness and forgot ?" 

May 15, Monday. It is amazing how the Lord answers 
prayer. I have written letters, (I may say in faith,) about 
this preaching-house, and have met with success beyond 
all expectation. If we can but get the ground, all will be 
well. I do think the whole hundred will be made up 
before we strike one stroke. On Saturday evening, con- 
sidering these words, " Nothing shall be impossible to 

you," I acted faith on the Lord for spiritual blessings, 

for that fulness I long for. I prayed that I might have 
the next day a better Sabbath than common, and so it 
was. In the morning meeting I found a further degree 
of resignation, and entire confidence in Jesus ; and in 
thai spirit I passed the day, during which I had to 
encounter such a variety of incumbrances and trials, as 
were quite uncommon. This encouraged me much. 
Both Mr. Home's sermons were blest to me, and the 
noon meeting was attended with an extraordinary power. 
I find it best to carry every thing to Jesus, and draw all 
from him, determined to believe that he who hath under- 
taken my cause will not leave his work imperfect. 

June 11. For some days I have had a clearer sight of 
the perfect Saviour than ever in my life before ! I was 
much blest in considering the type of the brasen ser- 
pent. The following observations, as I read them in a 
book which fell into my hands, made a deep impression 
on my mind. — First, " It may seem strange, that a ser- 
pent should be an emblem of the amiable and dove-like 
Redeemer ; — but Moses's serpent was void of poison, and 
had no sting, but was only in the form of a serpent, So 



TART VI.] * IRS ' LETCHER. 2T3 

. Pod sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, 5 
h t an utter stranger to the venom of sin. Again, it was 
Tmethod of cure solely constituted and appointed of 
Ld Who could have thought that looking at a dead 
serpent, and of brass, could have cured the bite of a 
living one ! Especially if it be true what some affirm, 
that the sight of burnished brass is naturally pernicious 
to 'tho«e who are bitten of serpents, and that to look on 
the -hape of any venomous creature increases the tor- 
ment of the unhappy sufferers who are bitten by them. 
So the method of our recovery by the cross of Christ, 
j, a device which claims God himself for its divine 
-author : and thus the whole method of Gospel salvation 
j s , < To them who perish foolishness, but to those who 
believe, it is the wisdom of God, and the power of God.' 
—Secondly, it was a method of cure that never failed ; 
being no less sure than strange. Not an Israelite died. 
a? Moses assures us, who looked at the brazen serpent : 
and who were ever confounded that trusted in Christ ?— 
Thirdly, it was a method of cure easily put in practice 
by an Israelite. If he received his wound in a remote 
part of the camp, and was too ill to draw near, yet if he 
turned his eye and looked at the serpent lifted up for 
him, it was enough ; he was healed !— Fourthly, it was 
a remedy that might be repeated as often as there was 
occasion for it. So ' Christ is the propitiation for our 
sins,' to whom we may warrantably have recourse as 
often as we are wounded, and in every time of need. — 
Fifthly, it was a remedy that proved effectual, though the 
sio-ht of the wounded person was ever so weak. So 
weak faith is saving in its degree, as well as strong, 
because the object is the same." I had such a clear 
view how all our wants were supplied by Jesus as 1 can- 
not express. Yes, He has atoned for all our sins ; He 
has " Reconciled us to God while we were yet enemies ! ; ' 
But we must look to, and trust in him alone ; and we 
may look every moment. The following day, Sunday. 
as also Monday and Tuesday, I had much outwar c? 



274 THE LIFE OF [PART Vf. 

exercise, but was carried through all as in the arms of 
the Almighty. 

July 16. I was this day led to consider the advantage 
of living longer, if the Lord should not take me at the 
time Sister Ryan's dream seemed to point out, viz. the 
beginning of next year. — This subject I set myself to 
consider, lest any murmuring thought should present itself 
in the disappointment. First, if I should live, it must 
be the will of God, and is not his will dear to me ? It i s 
true, I may have much more to suffer, but is not that 
suffering the will of God ? Perhaps I can serve God's 
children, both their souls and bodies ; — and did not my 
Lord absent himself from the joys of heaven to become 
a man of sorrows for me ? Nor is it to be despised if I 
can thus help my Lord's people by my income. Mr. 
Baxter says, " Do good to men's bodies, if you would do 
good to their souls. Say not, things corporeal are worth- 
less trifles for which the receivers will be never the 
better. They are things which nature is easily sensible 
of ; and sense is the passage to the mind and will. Dost 
thou not find what a help it is to thyself to have at any time 
ease, or alacrity of body ; and what a burden and hin- 
derance pains and cares are ? Labour then to free others 
from such burdens and temptations, and be not regardless 
of them." Indeed, I see it a great honour if I am permitted 
to sweep the dust from under the feet of the saints. Again, 
I believe there is a mansion appointed for each, a state 
and employment for which we are to be fitted. It does 
not appear I am fitted for the lowest mansion there ; but 
then I know my Jesus can do the work of a thousand 
years in one day, and I know I may, as my righteousness! 
claim the Lord my Saviour. 

August 5. Last night I had a powerful sense, in my 
sleep of the presence of my dear husband. I felt such 
sweet communion with his spirit as gave me much peace- 
ful feeling. I had for some days thought that I was called 
to resist more than 1 did, that strong and lively remenH 
brance of various scenes both of his last sickness, and 



PART VI.] * IRS « LETCHER. 275 

v other circumstances, which frequently occurred 
with much pain. This thought being present to my mind, 
I looked on him. He said with a most sweet smile, « It 
,- better to forget." What, said I, my dear love, to 
forget one another ? He replied, with an inexpressible., 
sweetness, " It is better to forget ; it will not be long ; 
we shall not be parted long ; we shall soon meet again." 
He then signified, though not in words, that all weights 
should be laid aside. His presence continued till I 

awoke. 

August 15. Last night was the anniversary of my dear 
husband's death. Three years I have now passed in 
solemn awful widowhood ; but, glory be to my God ! 1 
have found it three years of prayer. Never did I know 
three years of such suffering, and never did I know three 
years of such prayer. Sometimes I have sweet glimpses 
of the millenial state brought into my soul. At others 
my way seems thorny, and as if I walked wholly by faith, 
like my dream of the little star.* Yet I am conscious of 
a <Teat change : but I want a more abundant evidence 
that- not only many, but " all things are become new."* 
It seemed as if my dear husband remembered the season, 
for ^ had a most particular dream. I thought the side of 
his tomb was opened, (I mean the wall on which the iron 
plate lies,) and I saw him lying under it, while I lay at 
his side. We remained so a considerable time, and I felt 
that sweet tranquil composure that I always do when he 
seems sensibly present. He then said, with a sweetness 
which I cannot describe, — "Put thy arm over me and 
feel what companions I have ; they must be thy com- 
panions too." I put my arm and felt bones and broken 
coffins, at which nature seemed to shrink, but I did not 
speak. He tenderly answered to my thought, " Thou 
wilt lay thy head upon me." I felt some regret at the 
thought of his being there. He again answered to my 
thought, " I entered this habitation with great comfort 
and satisfaction." Then I thought two gentlemen came 

* S«e page 118. 



276 THE LIFE OF [PART Vl# 

Up, and stood by the tomb, and said one to the other 
" It is a pity Mr. Fletcher was laid here, it would have 
been better to have carried him to Mr. Ireland's vault." 
My dear love looked on them, and answered, " There 
was no need of that. We count it our privilege to be 
laid together, and we ought to count it our privilege both 
to rise from one spot." 

August 28. All this week my soul has been drawn out 
after that promise, " He stall baptize you with the Holy 
Ghost and with fire." Indeed it is a narrows way. I seem 
fighting with principalities and powers, but blessed be 
God, I do not seem ever to be fighting with sin. Yet I 
am not at rest : I am not entered into perfect rest. 1 can 
say, " I wrestle not now, but trample on sin ;" but I want 
what I have not. and which I firmly believe I shall have. 
Yet when I think death is near, I seem almost impatient 
for that fulness, that I ma}^ begin to live to my God in 
the full sense. 

January 1, 1789. I feel my soul affected much at the 
thought of seeing the beginning of another year. Per- 
haps this will be the last with me. ±May I live each 
moment as if I were sure it would be so ! Lord, be with 
us in renewing our covenant this night ! I have for stfcje 
time been praying for an enlightened understanding in 
divine things ; and light has reflected more clearly on the 
wonderful work of redemption. These words are sweet 
to me, " In the Lord I have righteousness and strength !" 
The account I have received of my dear Mrs, Caiey's 
death is precious. She was not in high rapture, but in 
profound tranquillity and peace. Such has been her life, 
and such her death. Lord, lot me follow her as she has 
followed thee !* Nurse Peters also has reached the 

* Mrs. Caley, well known in that day in London, was a 'woman of the 
most devoted spirit, and of the most elegant and polished manners. She 
drank deeplv of the cup of affliction, but rejoiced evermore in the will of 
HIM who srave it to her. Mr. Wesley preached her funeral sermon, in 
London, from Fhilippians iv. 8. " Finally, brethren, whatsoever thingsare 
true, whatsoever things. are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever 
thin" s are pare, whatsoever things are Uvcly, whatsoever things are pf 



PART VI.] 



MRS. FLETCHER. 2? 7 



1 Glory be to thee, my dear Lord, that I had the 
honour of sending her that one guinea, and to have her 
Hst message— that « It helped her to praise Thee more 
abundantly." O how many dear friends have I on the 
other side the river ! And I too am on the wing, only I 
wait a little till the Lord renew my spiritual strength— 

" Till of my Eden reposses'd 
From self and sin I cease." 

January 7. I have been reading over some of my old 
diary, and found it much blest to me. It brought to my 
mind many past scene?, which increased faith and thank- 
fulness ; also, it cast a clearer light on my present state. 
Comparing my present state with that I felt at Hoxton, I 
ran truly say now I not only feel all the purity, all the 
cpiritual-mindedness, and all the resignation I did then, 
but in many things I prefer my present dispensation to 
that. Vet my soul is not satisfied, for I see a far greater 
salvation before me. In short, it is not the gift, but the 
full possession of the Giver, my spirit longs for. 

March 6. Last Sunday as I went to the Lord's table. 
I renewed my covenant, determining to consider Jesus 
more immediately as the husband to whom I am joined 
in every sense of the word ; — as he who hath under- 
taken all for me. Since that time, I have more particu- 
larly found my soul abiding in his presence, and he every 
moment carrying on the work of purification. The great 
promise of my life, on which he hath made me to hope, 

£Ood report ; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on 
i hue things." He declared that he never knew one who thought more 
•![K>n this divine assemblage of graces, or with more success. Speaking of 
her loving and unwearied efforts to win souls for God, he quoted that 
line of Prior — 

'' Manna was on her tongue, and witchcraft in her eyes." 

Nurse Peters was also well known in London. She was a plain good 

woman, of admirable sense, and deep experience in religion. It is with 

jrjeat pleasure that I embrace this opportunity of embalming the memory 

of those excellent women by uniting them to that of their admirable 

ipnil Fd. 

24 



2?{j THE LIFE OF {PART Y.\ 

is that given me when eighteen, " Thou shalt walk with 
me in white," and repeated in these words, " Thou 
-halt walk with me in white ; I will make thee worthy." 
The posture of my soul is that of a poor beggar before 
the Lord, holding before him that petition, " Lord, ac- 
complish to me the word on which thou hast made me to 

hope !"■ 

Wednesday, March 24. Yesterday dear Mr. Wesley 
left us in apparent good health. What a miracle is he ! 
Eighty-six years old, and thus supported ! He is going 
directly to Ireland, and thinks to visit every society 
there this summer. The Lord preserve him, and ac- 
complish all his will upon him 1 As he was speaking on 
Monday, on these words, " God has not given to us the 
spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound 
mind." What an unction attended the word ! O may 
we never, never rest till fully restored to that perfect 
soundness he described ! 

April 11. This lent I have found a deep sense of the 
sufferings of my Lord. Yesterday, being Good Friday, 
we had a solemn meeting at night, but I did not tind quite 
is much life in speaking as at some times. The men, 
■'many of them with families,) who are come to work at 
ihe navigation, lay much on my mind. We ought to do 
something for their souls. Lord, open the way ! O let 
'hem not°go without some light at least. 

\pril 27. My soul is all upon a stretch for God. 
La«t night and this morning, as I was repeating in 
m-ayer,°T/ii/ -will be done ! my words were lost. I felt 
the desire of his adorable will being done so strongly 
that I was forced for some time only to groan. I am 
continually led to offer up my free will to God. I lon$ 
to be as mere clay before him. I plead that word on 
which he hath made me to hope, « Thou shalt walk wjth 
me in white ; I will make thee worthy." Yet my faith 
h-ith a strange drawback ; something would suggest, that 
it only meant, in eternity, and that I should never glorify 
him here as I longed to do. Were I to die immediately, 



l,ART VlJ MRS * FLETf;HER ' 2T1J 

thi , would not be so great a trial; but my health i, now 

nuch better. 1 thought I .aw the port, but 1 seem pu 
i"ck a^in ; and perhaps I may live some years. And 
, n ° t I ahvavs live at this poor rate > My very heart and 

oul ^errn *to groan for a closer communion with my 
0d ,' U some moments (I think every day) 1 feel a, it 
„-ere a sweet rest ; I .-oem centred in Jesus. *>ut in a 
*„• minutes it draws m again, and then I seem to be al- 
wavs believing and longing, but yet without any imme- 
diate answer. It is true, faith does not fail ; it is in con- 
stant exercise, and often seems to hope against hope. 
But all this I would not mind. Though Kaaman^vas 
made whole in seven dips, I would not mind if the nord 
made me dip seventy times seven. But my gnei lies 
here, I am condemned, often once or twice a day, for 
come word, or thought, or action— chiefly in words. In- 
deed the condemnation does not seem to be from the 
Lord, as if it would come between my soul and him. But 
I see I have spoken unadvisedly with my lips, and I can- 
not bear the horror of the view. There are some per- 
sons with whom I have much business to transact, who 
do not see alike, or cordially love one another, la some 
things both are right, in others both are wrong, i have 
this connexion at present two ways, personally, and by 
correspondence, and I find it a hard thing to bear my 
testimony against that which is wrong, and to approve 
that which is right in both, and yet neither to write nor 
speak but exactly so far as truth and love requires. O 
that I may from this day see, as in letters of blood, be- 
fore my eyes continually those words of the apostle, 
"■He that oifendeth not in tongue, the same is a perfect 
man, able also to bridle the whole body." Ah, Lord ! 
how far am I yet from this perfection ! 

April 29. I had some liberty in prayer three times 
to-day, the most in the three o'clock hour in the room. 
I was praying for a clear discovery of the grace or state 
I might ask for, and expect. It came before me as a 
rcpre*enta-ion of Christ as the vine, and of my soul as 



280 THE LIFE OF [PART Vi. 

being a branch ingrafted therein. Then I saw clearly 
that every believer was a branch in him, in part united • 
but when the branch is perfectly united, it is absolutely 
a part of the vine. The sap runs freely through every 
part, it is completely of one nature with it. Then the 
mind is in us which was also in Christ. We live no longer 
but Christ liveth in us, and are preserved from moment to 
moment by faith. Now if any knot or impediment were 
in any of the branches, it would hinder the free circula- 
tion of the pure sap through it, and that branch would 
wither, and in a degree be barren. Hence I saw sancti- 
iication in a clearer light than ever. It is to be perfectly 
ingrafted into the vine ; to have no impediment remaining 
10 hinder the flow of the sap, and while the soul thus 
abide by faith, it brings forth much fruit, and experi- 
mentally knows the meaning of those words of St. John, 
• He that abideth in Him sinneth not." 

April 30. My soul hath been led to-day to look at the 
uondrous love of the Father ! " He spared not his own 
Son ; he so loved the world as to lay on him the iniquity 
of us all' '—and " shall he not with him freely give us 
all things ?" 

June 4. Satan is striving hard to draw my mind back, 
but I have found this day a liberty to commit my whole 
cause into the hands of God. I feel a strong encourage- 
ment from these words, Every one that asketh receivelh. 
I ask in Jesus's name to be made a holy soul ! O that all 
this day I may be kept, and directed by the Lord, and 
walk as in his immediate presence. O for that mind th$t 
was in thee ! 

June 26. Various providences of late, have more and 
more convinced me of the need of a further change. I 
have it at times ; but something arises that seems selfish ; 
and again, like anger for a moment, which though never 
abiding, clearly convinces me I have not yet entered 
fully into rest. I long to be all devoted to my Lord, and 
to bring glory to him by every power 



PART VI.] MRS. FLETCHER. 281 

T ]lv t ; At the class, as I was saying,— It was not any 
peculiar or sudden comforts, that so tended to the soul's 
.notification, as a constant abandonment and resignation 
"'the whole soul, with every concern, into the hand ot 
J r ^ • 1 felt in a moment such an insight into the love, 
f.ithfulness. and wisdom of Christ, as I cannot describe 
O the security I saw in abandoning my soul to him ! It 
w ,< for a minute glorious indeed. I kept looking, but it 
r-rew bark, as if a curtain was for a moment drawn up, 
discovering some glorious scene, and then gradually let 
down ao-ain. But it has left an increase of confidence. 

couM! always feel what I felt just then, it seems to 
me it would be a real heaven, and banish all sensibility 
of fear and suturing. It was what 1 never felt before in 

f-bat degree. 

July 1 5. I had some liberty in prayer this morning, 
- also at the ten o'clock hour. I found a blessing also 
in reading Mr. Whitetield's account of the dealings of God 
with his soul, written on board the ship in his way to Phi- 
ladelphia. He prayed for the humility of Jesus ; and ob- 
serves. — •' From my first awakening to the divine life, 1 
felt a particular hungering and thirsting after the humility 
of Jesus Christ. Night and day I prayed to be a parta- 
ker of that grace, imagining that the habit of humility 
would be instantaneously infused into my soul. But as- 
Gideon taught the men of Succoth with thorns, so God 
taught me humility by the exercise of strong temptation." 

1 was thus led to consider the point ; and though I clearly 
discerned the same workings of Providence over myself. 
How often have I been led to pray more for humility than 
for any other grace, because by nature it is the virtue I 
am the most contrary to ; hut in my deep affliction, I now 
discern, this was the Lord's way, There have '.sen 
ini'iiv season- in which through pride, imprudence, ::;:: of 
various kinds, I have brought great humiliation o.- ;: 
self; — and even where they are cause, by our ow. . _ . 
if they are borne with subjection of spirit to Cm v 



282 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

tions of God, they work in the end for the salvation of 
the soul. But at the season I refer to, that of the death 
of my dear husband, although it really seemed I spoke 
and acted in an upright spirit, and am now conscious how 
tender my heart was with the fear of offending, yet I said 
and did many, very many, unwise things, which tended 
to lessen me greatly in the eyes of others. O how need- 
ful for mo to lie still in the hand of God, making it my 
only business to accept of every thing as from the Lord's, 
hand, hanging on that word by faith, Thou shah walk with 
me in white! I am convinced that the most profitable of 
all humiliations, are those that arise, through His grace, 
from a view of our own blunders, and even from our cor- 
ruptions. 

September 14. I have been much drawn to pray, that 
the great design of the Lord's coming may be answered, 
That he may destroy the works of the devil. I see, through 
his grace, my understanding is darkened. I ask in Jesus's 
name this work to be destroyed ; — for by the knowledge 
of Christ alone can I be changed into his likeness. 1 see 
Satan raises false fears, false views, and wandering ima- 
ginations ; — I ask deliverance from all these 1* My soul 
!ies before the Lord in a waiting posture : in particular* 
1 ask power to consecrate the faculty of speech to tho. 
service of my God, so that I may never again speak aa 
unadvised word. 

September 15. Last Saturday (September 12,) I was 
iifty years old. O my God, how little have I gained of 
Thee in fifty years ! Lord, let this be a jubilee year to. 
me ! I will try what prayer can do. — Lord, give me a 
measure of that spirit in which Thou didst spend whofoj 
nights in prayer 1 Never was I more stript, more empty * 
I have no dependence but on Thyself. I long for close 

^ It is not clear that those great and precious promises, by which we are 
■■aade partakers of the divine nature, secure to believers such a deliveranc* 
n-om these attacks, that they should not trouble them, and, at times, even 
at'onize the soul. But they secure to them such an abiding in Christ, that 
aone of those devices should prevail to unsettle their faith., or separate them 
from his love, £<& 



v . 1 MRS. FLETCHER. 283 

PART VI-J 

• rt „ Mv soul pants after it. I have wonderful 
communion. j ( ^ { ^ ^ my humiliations do 

an " Ve o'l Yet I do not embrace them as I ought to do, 

^/p haps a minute before I rightly enter into the gra ; 

, us design. When I look to the Lord, all is right ;-but 

want "uch a habitual look, as shall enable me to re^ 

[Z them as a hungry man does his food » not omy to 

t ZL but to glory in the cross of the Lord Jesus. I 

tern o^vllk much m'ore by faith than by sight. My soul 

I ems to go out in desire and silent prayer. I am mostly 

[ the act of crying, Come ! But there seems sdence on 

the «ide of the Lord! He does not answer by sweet 

comforts, only by power over sin, purity of mind m a 

good degree ; and an almost constant act of sacrifice. 

I love his will, bitter or sweet, but 1 want him as the 

bride in the Canticles, to kiss me with the kisses of his 

mouth, for his love is better than wine. 

September 16. This morning at the ten o'clock hour, 
I had freedom in praying for an entire change. I thought, 
—My s-ituation as to outward things, is the most advanta- 
geous to a religious life that can be.. I have no cares ; 
indeed I have no need of care. I have plenty of all I can 
want. Sally, though a tender child, is one of much abi- 
lity ; laving herself out to serve and please me in all 
things. Matty, my other servant, of a most quiet and 
peaceable spirit, and rigidly honest and faithful. Blessed 
be God, her soul also comes forward in the divine life. 
Reflecting on this : I drew from it the following encou- 
ragement : — If I am thus favoured, is it not plain the Lord 
designs me to be one of those who are brought into close 
fellowship with himself? May I not attain to a fuller 
salvation than when involved in all my perplexities ? My 
heart was encouraged. I thought on those words, " Men 

* And was there no divine comfort in all these glorious marks and fruits 
of the new creation? There was. — Comfort high as heaven, and which 
;; t || can never imitate ! far superior even to those sweet consolations which 
are so graciously bestowed on young converts, and which some sincere 
h»u1s so greatly need throughout the whole of their pilgrimage. 2'Ae lambs 
'.hat he carries in his bosom. Ed, 



284 THE LIFE OP [ PART V| 

ought always to pray and not to faint." Again, '• I am 
come that they may have life, and that they might have 
't more abundantly." My soul longs for this More abund- 
ant life. Lord, pour out on me thy light and truth, and 
make me, in the complete sense of the word, a new crea- 
ture ! I was led to think of the fimiliar manner in which 
our Lord conversed with the women and his disciples after 
his resurrection. He met them and said, " M hail!" 
(i. e. happiness attend you.) And bid them "tell his 
brethren, he would see them in Galilee.*' Probably on 
Mount Tabor, where his glorious transfiguration was 
manifested before them : and where they heard the voice 
of God, declaring him " the beloved Son whom they 
were to hear." They were also commanded to " tell the 
vision to no man, till the Son of man should be risen 
from the dead." The thought struck my mind,— per- 
haps in this very assembly they were first to tell it ! All. 
this encouraged me greatly. 

October 5, Monday. This has been a day of recollec- 
tion and prayer, glory be to God ! I have had some 
views of the great designs of God on his redeemed ; how 
through the Son, He will form his own bright and glo- 
rious image in us. We are appointed to be conformed to 
the image of the Son, — and is He not the express image of 
the Father? A little glimpse of what the Saviour is, and 
will be to me, now and then for. some time beamed forthj. 
and set my soul in a longing posture.. Yet it is but like 
seeing through the lattice. I long to know, whether what 
I see before me, and grasp after, may be attained in thii 
life, or must I die to prove it? O my divine Director*' 
my Prophet, speak and tell me ! This is all that keep* 
me back, not knowing what I may ask, having been so 
great a sinner. Something says, I shall not fully enter 
into the good land here.* To-day I was reading those 

* Certainly not the good land of perfect enjoyment ; but " the good' 
land of perfect love," inducing perfect submission, and prompt oLedi* nee, 
we may enter into this day. See Mr- Wesley's serrrion entitled " Tb& 
jcripture Way of Salvation " E<1 



., I AIRS. FLETCHER. ^85 

PART VI.J 

« t *hP last day, Jesus will present himself as 
words « In the last day ^ t 

judge, to angels men, and dev 

'embrace with all my soul, J— a my J „ y 



s 



ace wnu cu -j ~ > a dorable Judge 

prang at the thought! Ye>, my . & 

.Lose thee with all my powers ;— 1 acquiesce oeiore 
I i ■ hv sentence be it what it will : yea, and in all 
Sl m 9 Sft -^ from this moment to that timet 
Ma^Les to!day these words have been my food, 
.•The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. 

October 6. 1 was HI most of last night, but was re- 
collected, and had a sense of undeserved mercies. Re- 
acting to-day on that point which hath so often hindered 
le, viz. Some say, when we have sinned we should wait 
\r a fresh pardon, a fresh sense of it, before we believe, 
i" prayed for light, how to walk in my present state, and 
the following reflection arose in my mind.— I feel my 
, v ill i« turned to the Lord.— He who knows all things, 
know*, I long, I pant, to love him perfectly, and to live 
eV ery moment to his praise, with the full exertion of my 
powers. But sometimes when I am waiting before God, 
it is suggested, I have indulged in the last meal, or, I 
have spoken unadvisedly at such a time. These things 
have kept me in bondage long. But to-day, I clearly see 
ruv one business is to maintain faith. How is it that the 
-oul is ever received after any fall ? Is it not at last by 
believing Christ hath atoned for that sin ? Now I feel I 
could on the recollection of any stumble, immediately 
fly to and weep on the bosom of my Lord.— But that 
thought has presented itself Am I not an Antinomian 1 
But I will no more take man, but the word of God for 
my director. What were my Lord's words to Peter ? 
" I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." So 
then his faith ought not to fail, though he denied his 
Lerd with oaths and curses ! And what a word was that, 
when his Lord foretelling his fall, added, " And when 
thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." What 
ienderness was showed unto him! He wept bitterly, 
but hp still claimed his interest in the Sayiour, for he 



236 THE LIFE OF [PART vi. 

ran to the tomb to seek him. And how did our Lord 
wipe away his tears ! He was seen of him before any 
of the eleven, 1 Corinthians xv. 5. He was the first 
preacher at Pentecost. The first messenger to the 
Gentiles. — An angel must wait on him to bring him out 
of prison ; and at last, he received the crown of martyr- 
dom. Did not Christ on the cross foresee, and die for 
all my sins, before I had a being ? Did he not pav the 
price for all ? But it is only mine by believing. Then 
if I always believe, does not that word belong to me, 
;: There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ 
Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.'"* 
It is true, if the will and affections draw back, the soul 
will find it hard so to believe as to return to the former 
fellowship. And yet there is no wa}^ for them but by 
believing. The case I mean is, — I see it my privilege 
to live always under the atonement ; and though I do 
wrong, and fall short continually, yet, I may and must 
run directly to my God, just as I did with my husband". 
If he said, Polly, thou shouldest not have said or done so; 
1 asked his forgiveness, and had no fear of his loving me 
the less. Nay, usually I found more tenderness when I 
acknowledged my fault, than before I fell into it. That 
word also came to my mind, " Blessed is the man to 
whom the Lord will not impute sin." And again, " If 
thou canst believe, all things are possible. He that 
believeth is justified from all things." 

October 31. These words have made a great impres* 
sion on my mind of late, When one of the Scribes askie| 
our Lord, Ci What he should do to inherit eternal life?" 
He replied "What readest thou in the law?" The 
Scribe answered, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, 
with all thy heart, and mind, and soul, and strength; 
and thy neighbour as thyself." Our Lord replfc$ 
- Thou hast well said, this do, and thou shalt live." I 
discerned a fulness in this passage which I never did 

* See the note in the 259th page. Ed 



„ v ,l MRS. FLETCHER. 287 

TART VJ-J 

1 all my soul cried for the possession of that 
before, aru^ ^ ^.^ ^ abgolute promise of life is 

S°Many times I have observed, in prayer, or at 
Tme peculiar seasons in other means such a spirit of 
purity! humility, and love, has overwhelmed my soul, as 
1 hardly to be expressed. At other times, the divine 
ly appeared but dim. I saw at once the cause. Ac 
'the former times, the soul turned from every interven- 
in* object, and sunk into her proper place, discerning 
lh e immense distance betwen a holy God and sinful 
S plf Then she begins to shine in his brightness. Her 
Y;.ht is come, because The glory of the Lord is risen upon 
her. But if she rises out of her deep absorbment, and 
let* in self-esteem, what wonder if she then reflects the 
odious image of sin, instead of the beauty of the Lord 
Je.us. I perceived also, that there is a great difference 
between humble thoughts and despairing thoughts. Hum- 
ble thoughts, though they may cause much pain by the 
horror and detestation which they cause the soul to feel. 
vet they exalt the Saviour, and make the soul admire the 
justice as well as the mercy of God. But despairing 
thoughts, injected by the devil, drive the soul from God, 
and represent him as " a hard Master, gathering where 
he hath not strewed." The faithful soul will find many 
^lch attacks, therefore the safest way is continually to 
j;ive up herself to the Lord, crying — Thy zdll be done ! 
That is a weapon Satan cannot stand against. 

November 12. This day, being the day of our mar- 
riage, many painful remembrances would present them- 
selves to my mind. Each year I wrote, " We are happier 
and happier !" But I feel a great thankfulness, that I 
have such an offering to bring to Him who gave up all for 
me 1 Yes, I praise thee, my Lord, that thou hast done 
thine own will, and not mine ! At ten I took my hour 
before the Lord, and felt some power afresh to dedicate 
myself to Jesus, — entering into a marriage covenant with 
him. A light shone on my soul to discern how the hu? 



288 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

band hath undertaken the whole cause of the wife, and I 
saw both body and soul safe in his hands. I then entreated 
my adorable Husband to take all the freedom of my will 
into his own hand ; — and, as we say to the surgeon, bind 
me, (for an operation,) so I entreated my Lord to conform . 
me to himself in any way that He pleased : — only that 
He should be glorified. A thought again presented itself, 

What if in eternity it be His will that I should neither 

know nor have any communion with my dear husband ? 
I was enabled to answer, Lord, thy glory is all in all to 
me ! I felt that he should choose for me. And 1 was 
enabled to give up soul, body, life, death, time, and eter* 
nity to Him, and covenanted to live on Ilis will alone i 
And henceforward I will consider this day as my wedding- 
day with the Lord, holding my dear husband in him, 
whose soul I know will have joy in heaven upon every 
nearer approach which I make to his Saviour, and my 
Saviour ! His all, and my all ! 

November 14. After 1 had spent some time in prayer 
this morning, I felt an increasing freedom in imploring 
that the whole mind of Christ might be brought into my 
soul. Those words are much in my thoughts, " Be ye 
not afraid, neither doubt, for God is your guide," 2 Es- 
dras xvi. 75. Lord, increase my confidence ! I saw how- 
impossible it was to have union where there was notsimi* 
litude ; and my cry was, Fulfil that word, O Lord, on 
which thou hast made me to hope ! Make me clean 
ihrough thy word! and present me to Thyself without spot! 
Afterward, reading the Life of Ignatius Loyala, and 
especially what pains he took, and what labour he went? 
through to gain souls, I could not but be struck at the 
glaring difference between him and me. One day, having 
taken a step he believed to be his duty, but which cause* 
him both pain and igno;r*my — and being rebuked by a 
friend, he replied, " I should not object to traverse all 
the streets of Paris barefoot, with horns on my head, and 
clothed in the most ridiculous habit, could it but gain one 



„ T 1 MRS. FLETCHER. -89 

PART VI.J 

rnH "* The conviction immediately struck me, 
Zl 11 f wanted was to be filled with the love of God. 
and that would produce every effect in its proper order. 
Lord let my incessant cry be for this! give me this 

most 'excellent gift of charity ! , 

T nnarv 7 1 790. And now another year is gone, and 
, at so iucii nearer eternity . Yes, my^thM Saviour 1 
will rejoice in the thought, because thou art faithful, 
m d I do believe for the fulfilment of all thy promises : 
tey are yea and amen in Thee, on whom I rely. I behove 
] shall JalkM thee incite! .0 carry on thy work . I 
Ions to be just what my God pleases. 

In the last month I have had a peculiar experience. 
wi< often tempted to think, that the deadness I felt to all 
earthly things, might be produced by my great affliction 
on account of my dear husband's death : and I was some- 
times damped by that thought in my ardour of praise. 
But a few weeks ago, I was permitted to feel all the 
temptations I ever felt, except resentment, and I was 
conscious I could fall into the same desires of comfort on 
earth from which I had been so long delivered. My soul 
was grieved exceedingly, yet, strange ! I seemed nearer 
to God than before ! I was amazed, but these words 
came to my mind, " Know that from Jesus alone is your 
salvation." I cried to the Lord that he would graciously 
prove it by removing the temptation, and so it proved. 
Glory be to my complete Saviour ! It is now like a dream, 
but I know and feel the divine reality. 

1 seem to be surrounded with blessings, and see such 
a care of the Almighty over all that concerns me, as I 
cannot express. Sally had been very ill, but raised again 
io answer to prayer as by miracle. My house is a sweet 
rest, and " a secret place in the wilderness to hide me 
in." Many storms are without, but none can touch me. 
1 .~eem hid from all the evils of which my letters inform 

* Pious Protestants well know how to appreciate this. True piety 
• of no sert : it is truly catholic. E<L 



290 THE LIFE OF [PART Vi. 

me. I have peace within, resting in hope ; and peace 
m all my borders. I have communion with my friends 
above, and none below can harm or injure me. As to 
temporal things, — I inherit now, (and have done some 
years,) the fulness of that promise, given to me in my 
deep poverty — " Thou shalt be the head and not the 
tail : Thou shalt lend and not borrow." It is amazin* 
how many I can help, both by lending and giving, and 
when I made up my book this last Christmas, I was sur- 
prised to see on how little we had kept the house, and 
how large was the poor's account ;* yet a little is always 
left to go on with. He does bless my bread and my 
water. I want for nothing. I live better than I think I 
Deed, and yet, according to the promise, I have always 
plenty of silver. 

January 13. Two days ago a gentleman and his wife 
came to see me from a considerable distance. He told 
me that for two years he had walked in the full liberty of 
the sons of God. But for the last eight years he had 
been in the darkness of unbelief. 1 was led to speak 
freely on the way of faith ; and mentioned an instance I 
had lately heard of a good woman, who when in prayer, 
her eyes being shut, had a sight of paradise, where she 
saw our Lord as sitting in the midst of the glorified spirits. 
There proceeded from him such beams of purity, light, 
and glory, as penetrated them till they were all irradiated, 
and shone with his glory. She saw also the same glory 
stream down on the saints below, and they, in the same 
manner, keeping their eyes on the Lord, were divinely 
changed. But when any of them turned away their eyes, 
they received his beams no longer. The same glory 
still shone round them, but they complained of being 
barren and dry, and that they could get no answers to 
prayer. I observed, that I thought this was his case. If 
we keep faith in exercise, we shall and must receive, for 
we may have of God, what we will take of him. As I 

* In an account for one year, I find the whole expense of her wearing 
apparel amounted to a trifle more than two pounds. Ed. 



PART VI.] MRS * FLETCHER - ~ [)l 

«pake I said in my heart, if this is the truth as it is in 
*ie«us ' Lord, set to thy seal ! And so he did, for the power 
of "God came down on the gentleman, and constrained 
him to cry out, O, now I feel it again ! 1 feel the power 
of God go through me ! When I came into this room. 
mv heart was as hard and as heavy as if the whole 
world lay on it. But now it is all gone, and I teel the 
power of God penetrate my whole frame. His wife also, 
was much affected, and I trust the blessing will abide. 

January 25. A dream which was told me the other 
day by S." Colley was blest to me. She thought she was 
surrounded with dangers, but looking up, she saw a large 
eye always fixed on her, which much encouraged her 
faith in an overruling providence. Then she thought 
she got into a river, and began to sink. It was very 
deep and clear, and she was much afraid ; but looking 
down, she saw this great eye underneath her, which 
caused such a faith to spring up in her soul, that she laid 
herself down on the water with as much comfort and ease 
as if upon her bed. She felt she could not sink with the 
power of the Almighty underneath her. 

January 27. My soul was yesterday and this day 
much drawn out in prayer. Those words are often 
before me, " None knoweth the Father but the Son, and 
he to whom the Son is pleased to reveal him." 

I long for this revelation. I feel it is, in its fulness, 
the thing I want. Thus only St. Paul's prayer can be 
answered. Ephesians iii. 14 — 21. O for this revelation 
of thy love ! I wait for it moment by moment. And 
thou sayest, " They shall not be ashamed who wait for 
Thee !" I wait for the salvation " which shall be brought 
in at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 

February 11. The seventh of this month, (on which 
was our quarterly meeting,) I found it a good day. My 
soul saw the way of faith, and felt a degree of that liberty 
which from believing flows. At our class on Tuesday 
night, we agreed to unite our prayers the ensuing week 
for power over imaginations, (2 Cor. x. 5.) especially 



292 THE LIFE OF [PART Vi. 

during the time of prayer, and blessed be God I find 
some answer. 

February 26, Friday. — I have found this a comfortable 
day. While talking with Brother T. the way of faith 
was more and more beautiful in my eyes. In prayer I 
had a sweet discovery of the depth contained in those 
words — " Whatsoever things ye ask in prayer, believe 
that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Yester- 
day I proved that truth. I asked in the name, and in 
the right of my Lord, that his will might be done without 
interruption in me all day ; and that I might be kept and 
taught in every word and action, and enabled to abide 
as in the presence of God. And though I had no sensible 
joy, yet 1 found the power of God keeping me, and 
approving me, each moment since that time. I have 
been poorly in body, but I so see the hand of God in 
all, that I seem like a little babe held in the arms of its 
mother. As Brother T. was speaking, I saw the way of 
enjoying pure love clearer than ever O, wherefore 
did I ever doubt? According as I believe, so it is! 
Surely of late the Lord is increasing my faith, and teach- 
ing me anew to walk with himself. Mr. T observed, 
that " God brought his children through different dis- 
pensations, sometimes of sorrow, sometimes of joy.— 
That it was our part to trust him in all, believing all 
would be right in its season ; and equally accepting 
either correction or comfort. God knew what he was 
about to do with Job, and Job had only to lie still under 
the hand of God ; for a time was coming in which God 
would surely lift him up. He had no need to plead his 
own cause, for he was safe in God's hand, who was then 
making him a spectacle of glory before angels and devils; 
though to man he appeared very different." 

June 26, Saturday.— I am much led this morning to 
pray for a resigned will, to stand to the beck of my Lord 
with a ready mind.— Yes, he shall do with me and mine 
?s seems to him good. Company in the house is a great 
cross ; thev consume much time, and the serving tables 



PART VI.] MRS * FLETCHER. 2§3 

seems to clash with my Sabbath employment. But in 
thi" also, thou, my Lord, shalt dispose and direct : only 
o-ive me a watchful mind, and then set me to entertain 
all the strangers thou pleasest. I know not what blessed 
angels may come with them as their attendants, and I will 
keep to my old motto, — 

" O that my Lord would count me meet 

To wash his dear disciples' feet ! 

After my lowly Lord to go, 

And wait upon his saints below ; 
Enjoy the grace to angels given, 
And serve the royal heirs of heaven !" 

But I see there needs a determination to be singular. 
Some professors, when they have company in the house, 
sit chatting with them all day. This I must not do. It 
was one of the first lessons God taught me, to keep to 
my rules of retirement ; to do my business, as to writing, 
visiting the sick, meeting the classes, kc. leaving them to 
their freedom, and taking mine. One part of my work 
must not overturn another. 

August 14. What have I seen within these five vears ! 
This day five years my beloved was on his death-bed. 
But how is it with me now ? I answer, and from the 
ground of my heart, " It is well." — I have nothing to do 
but to praise ! I love him at this moment as much as 
ever I did in my life ; but I love the will of God still 
better. — Yes, I adore thee, my almighty Saviour, that 
thou hast done thine own will, and not mine ! And that 
mv dearest love has been five years in glory. O that J 
might be permitted to feel a little of what he now is. — 
lost and swallowed up in Thee ! Lord, are we not one ? 
" The head of the woman is the man, as the head of the 
man is Christ;" and " whom God hath joined together 
none can put assunder." Adam and Eve were never 
intended to be separated, and shall sin so overturn tlr* 
original design, as that it cannot be restored by the 
Soviour? Surely, no! As thou hast taken away the 
sting of sin, so thou hast taken away the smart of separa- 

25 * 



29i THE LIFE OF [PART Vl. 

tion. We are yet one ; and shall I not feel a communi- 
cation from thyself passing through that channel ? Lord, 
make me spiritually minded! "meet to partake of the 
inheritance of the saints in light." 

August 24. My soul is much stirred up by the 
thought that I have lost time more than any one that has 
really walked in the ways of the Lord. It seems to me 
that I begin to see a fulness in the word of God, — such a 
depth in the promises, that I have been looking hitherto 
only for the first principles of Christianity. — O for that 
baptism of the Spirit! That sanctifying grace ! It seems 
its if I wanted the Lord to come and take away the last 
breath of nature's life ! I see a great deal in these words, 
! ' The kingdom of heaven is at hand." The kingdom of 
abiding " righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost." Surely that is "the kingdom of heaven," of 
which our Lord said, That the least member of it " was 
greater than John the Baptist." Lord, bring me into 
that liberty ! I ask it in the name of my Saviour and 
Advocate. 

Last night I prayed that I might not have so disturbed 
a night as I have found of late, but that the Lord would 
keep away those hurrying dreams which often disturb 
the quiet repose of my spirit. And it was so ; I found 
a difference. About the middle of the night I saw my 
dear husband before me. We ran into each other's arms. 
I wished to ask him several questions concerning holiness, 
and the degree to be expected here, &c. But I found 
something like a dark cloud on my memory, so that 1 said^ 
in mvself, I cannot frame the question I would ask ; I am 
not permitted. At length I asked, My dear, do you not 
visit me sometimes ? He answered, " Many times a 
day." But, said I, Do not " principalities and powers" 
strive to hinder you from communing with me ? He said, 
" There is something in that." And does their opposi- 
tion cause you to suffer in coming to me ? He answered, 
" There is not much in that." But do you know every 
material thing that occurs to me ? " Yes." And may I 



PART VI.] aiRS ' FLETCHER. 295 

i^v* know that thou art near me, when I am in trouble. 

o^nl or *W* He P M8Cd ' m i T' ] f Hintly 't : 7^ 
«. ••' then added, " but it is as well for thee not to know 

It for thy reliance must not be upon me" He mention- 
ed al,o some in glory who remembered me,-and said, 
.. Mr Hey is with us also, he bid me tell thee so, and by 
that thou mayest know that it is I that speak to thee." 
Mr. Hey died a short time before, very happy in the 

Lord. . , , , 

September 14th. As I was in prayer about ten to- 
day, a thought came into my mind. God is incomprehen- 
sible ; but we are called to walk by faith, therefore I am 
to believe what I cannot comprehend. And O, what 
.weet condescension did 1 see in that stupendous good- 
ness ! He took our nature that we might be able to form 
some conception of him. He stooped to me, to lift me 
up to himself. " God so loved us as not to spare his own 
Son. Then will he not with him freely give us all 
tilings r I see clearly, it is the infinite desire of the 
blessed Triune God to communicate himself to the. 
creature.— Ah ! why is it then I do not enjoy more 

ol' him ? 

September 17. I was much struck with the compari- 
son of the sun drawing up the vapour, and purifying it 
as it draws. As I was walking to the Lloyds I thought 
much on it, and said in my mind — how shall I know, and 
coincide with this attraction ? Immmediately it came to 
my mind, by that word, " Thy will be done ;"— by this 
resignation we instantly enter into the attraction, whatever 
?tate we were in before,* and by a simple look to Jesus, 
a waiting on the Spirit to do its office on us, we continue 
therein. Lord, give me so to wait every moment! I 
was comforted in my visits yesterday morning, and again 
to-day. Glory be to God, souls come forward, and I have 
been enabled to walk about more this summer than for a 
Ion"- time. Lord, make me to be as a leaf to the wind 

* But the call to " Ropent and bdkve the Gospel" must be first obeyed 
Ed. 



296 THE LIFE OF [PART vi. 

before thee ! ready to obey all thy will. — Great liberty 
and power I have found for some months, both in public 
and private meetings. O, what a favour to be permitted 
to speak a word in thy name ! 

September 22. I was thinking to-day, What is sin ? I r 
is a turning out of the presence of God, and departing 
from union with him ; drawing back from the attraction.! 
While that is kept up, no sin is imputed. Many blun- 
ders may be made ; but while the heart keeps attached 
to Jesus, cleaving to him by faith, these words stand 
o-ood. " There is no condemnation to those who are in 
Christ Jesus." The will being still fastened to his cross, 
all that is wanting is a closer attention to the Spirit. 
Then these blunders would be rectified. My one con- 
cern must be to keep in this presence of God, lying be- 
fore him as clay, and he will do all his will in me. 

September 30. I have found it on my mind some 
time, that something more should be done for the souls 
in the lower part of the town. We have had preaching 
there, and prayer-meetings, and yet they seem all dead 
and cold. Sally thought of several persons, and we got 
the names of twenty-eight families. We both laid it be- 
fore the Lord, considering that our good class, which 
meets on the Tuesday night, were all raised at first by 
inviting them to a meeting. We proposed to do the same 
with these. But Sally did not feel freedom to meet 
them. At night, in prayer, the Lord laid it on my mind 
to take this meeting also. Therefore she and I set out 
in faith, determining to call on as many as my strength 
would reach. We saw much of the Lord all the way. 
I have got a promise from all we have asked, which U 
fifteen." We visited many more, but did not see the time 
come to ask them. We have many still to go to. I 
have appointed ten o'clock on Tuesday morning for this 

* St. John tells us, " Sin is the transgression of the law : the law writ- 
ten in the heart," or recorded in the word. But Mrs. Fletcher evidently 
means. How does sin revive in those believers who were dead to sin? In 
this view of the question, the remarks that follow may be profitable. $%■ 



PART VI.] MRS * FLETCHER. -97 

new meeting. The Lord pour his blessing upon it ! I 
was pleased to find some old ones, on whom my dear 
husband had spent much labour, seemingly without 
fruit, now begin to feel, and they attend the public meet- 
ings. 

October 8. The following observation was blest to 
me as I read it this day, " There is among men here on 
earth an almost infinite diversity of gifts, talents, know- 
ledge, inclinations, &c. The scale of humanity rises 
through innumerable steps, from the brute man to the 
thinking man. The progression will continue no doubt 
in the life to come, and will preserve the same essential 
relations : or in other words, the progress which we 
^hall make here in knowledge and virtue, will determine 
the point from whence we shall begin our progress in 
the other life, or the place we shall there occupy."* 
What a powerful motive to excite us to grow continually 
in knowledge and love ! The Judge of all will render to 
each according to his works ; according to the use he 
hath made of his talents ; and to him who hath, shall be 
c;iien. It follows that the degree of perfection acquired 
in this life, will determine in the life to come the degree 
of happiness or glory which each individual shall enjoy. 
Certainly, the degrees of glory will be as various as the 
degrees of holiness has been ; and therefore we have the 
clearest reason to suppose there will be an eternal ad- 
vance from one degree of perfection to another. One 
degree of acquired holiness will lead to another. And 
because the distance between created beings, and the 
uncreated Being, is infinite, they will tend continually 
towards supreme perfection ; though without ever ar- 
riving at it. 

November 12 My soul has for some days been in a 
particular exercise. — But I was enabled not to regard the 

* This may be admitted, if the blood of Chri't have previously remw-~e<\ 
i\\ suilt. Ed. 



298 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

violent suggestions of the enemy. I strove to pass over 
or through the thoughts, as they presented themselves 
and took refuge in the Lord. O, how important it is not 
to give into one thought ! The least turn of the eye of 
the mind, may be sufficient to let in the tempter. It has 
been an amazing trial ! Truly we wrestle with princi- 
palities and power? ! In the midst of it the Lord said, / 
have redeemed thee, thou art mine ! Sometimes it seemed 
as if I had lost all strength. I could not feel condemna- 
tion, and yet I would fain have condemned myself, for I 
hardly knew what thoughts were my own, and what 
were injected. But, strange to say, during this season 
though I almost trembled to speak for God, my words 
seemed to be attended with more than common profit 
to others ! Lord, awake the spiritual powers of my soul ! 
This day 1 have been renewing my solemn dedication to 
the Lord. On this day I took my dear husband, now in 
glory ! And I will ever consider it as my day of mar- 
riage with the Lord. 

January 1, 1891. Last night I found much desire 
that I might awake so as to devote the first breath of the 
new year to the Lord ; and I found it in some measure. 
Between five and six I got up, and read the Psalms for 
the day, but did not find any thing particular, except 
that word, which has remained on my mind, " Salvation 
belongeth unto the Lord, and his blessing is on his peo- 
ple !" My soul is waiting on him, and my expectation is 
alone from him. 

April 20. The posture of my soul is, I still wait in 
full reliance that the Lord will do his whole will upon me. 
Souls come forward, and it seems as if every one grows 
faster than I do. I am much pained that 1 do not feel 
more under the means. It seems as if the word preached 
had a more powerful effect on others than on me. Lord, 
why is this ? Reading is to me the greatest of means, 
except private pnyer. I think the Lord is giving me to 
see myself in a clearer light than ever. 



PART VI.] MRS * F LETCHER - 299 

Tuly 13. Mr. Walton's* visit I have found blest to me. 
His word came with power ; and while we were talking 
together of faith, I felt my soul refreshed. O, how 
clearly could I see the way for him ! and that all his 
trials arose from his not believing more ; from his not 
claiming the privilege of his state. Just then I saw clearly 
for myself also. 6 my Lord, let thy light ever abide ! 
God is faithful to do for us all we trust him for. Well., 
I trust to be kept from all sin ; from all departure from 
God ; and I find it is to me according to my faith. 

Last night at the intercession I was not able to speak 
one word, having such a hoarseness as I never had in 
niv life before. I once attempted to pray, but could not, 
«o I was silent all the rest of the time. I looked on the 
congregation, who were all expecting me to speak to- 
them, and could not even say, I love and pray for you. 
And it may be, the Lord is about to take this power from 
me. My eves fail ; my hand is weak with a rheumatic 
pain, and I can write but little. My feet fail ; I can now 
walk but a short way. My breath is short, and if my 
voire be also taken, then 1 have no more to do, but to 
care for my own soul and others in silence. Well, I 
am quite content, and am as willing to be silent as to 
-peak. O thy dear will, my Lord, let it be done for ever ! 
July 15. Reading Mr. Yalton's experience, 1 was 
yesterday much struck to see the difference between him 
and me, and my soul has this morning received a fresh 
conviction to offer up every thought in a deeper manner 
than 1 have ever done. Lord, thou art faithful to keep 
that which is committed unto thee. I here commit my 
every thought, with all the powers of my imagination. 
Lord, keep them in one constant going out after thee ! 

August 11. This has been a very solemn week to 
me. It was six years last Friday since my dear love 
began to be ill. This year, each scene falling on the 

• A travelling preacher, and a member of th° Methodist Conference ; 
mw with God. Ed 



300 THE LIFE OF [p.-.RT 



VI. 



same day of the week, as well as the year, brings all 
afresh before me. Last Sunday was the awful day i n 
which he took his last leave of his church and people 
and began to die in their immediate service ! It was our 
quarterly meeting at the Wood. I was in full exercise 
all day, and felt my spirit deeply resigned, and a good 
deal drawn out in the Lord's work, though it was a suf- 
fering time. Each day I have passed through every 
scene, and had some calls to take up other crosses, and 
to be much employed for the Lord. I feel he sustains 
me, and gives me to say and feel, Thy will be done! 
Last Lord's day I felt a stirring up in my soul, with an 
encouraging hope, that I should yet be brought into a 
closer walk with God than ever. Yesterday was a day 
Of more than common recollection. I seemed to bear in 
mind the nearness of Jesus, and felt all good come from 
him. I find we have nothing to do but. keep uniting our 
mind to him by faith and love ; and if we keep the tree of 
life, we shall be sure to have each fruit in its season. 

August 17. Last Sabbath was the day which closed 
the sixth year of my dear love's inheritance in glory. I 
had many outward calls all day in the work of God, and 
found support and comfort therein. 

" What cannot resignation do ? 

Il wonders can perform ! 
That powerful charm — Thy will be done .' 

It lays the loudest storm." 

November 15. It is a great cross, this change in our 
ministry. Mr. PL going away, now we were so settled, 
is a trial. Lord, undertake for us, and order in the way 
thou pleasest. Only let me do as my dear husband ever 
did, sink under every humiliation and cross, and rise by 
all nearer to Thee ! I long to be more abundantly the 
temple of the Holy Ghost. — I feel it is a narrow way. But 
O, keep me ever under the atoning blood. I cast me 
thereon, — I rest alone on Thee ! 

I shall now m ike a few observations. First, I must 
observe, I have been led all the way through my pilgrim- 



HART VI.] MRS> tLETGHER - 301 

a ,r C by an exercise of faith, in a very particular manner. 
Two great promises have been given to me, on which the 
Lord hath made me to hope. One, in which spiritual 
and temporal blessings are united ; and the other relating 
vhollv to spiritual things. The first was sealed on my 
hearth in a time of particular trial, at Layton-stone, " If 
thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up ; thou 
-halt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then 
shalt thou lay up gold as the dust, and the gold of Ophir 
as the stones of the brook ; yea, the Almighty shall be 
thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. Thou 
shalt decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee ; 
and the light shall shine on thy way." This promise hath 
supported me through the rough path in which I was 
called to walk. But the words of the apostle, impressed 
on my mind when I was seventeen years old, viz. " If 
she have lodged strangers ; if she have brought up chil- 
dren ; if she have washed the saints' feet ; and diligently 
followed after every good work" — the Lord has enabled 
me also to attend to. After all my wanderings, / am re- 
turned to the Almighty ; and he hath built me up. Iniquity, 
glory be to God ! is put far from my tabernacles. My be- 
loved nephew is brought to the Lord. My family are 
pious and upright ; nor have I any thing to lament under 
my roof, as displeasing to God. My prayers seem to have 
free access to the throne, and the speedy answers amaze 
me ! I wished for a large commodious place for the peo- 
ple to meet in, as their number greatly increases, and 
though it seemed impossible, it is now accomplished. I 
wished for an hundred pounds to build a meeting-house af 
the Bank, remembering how much my dear husband de- 
sired it. Laying it before the Lord, that word was again 
applied, " Thou shalt decree a thing, and it shall be esta- 
blished unto you ; and the light shall shine on your ways." 
I subscribed thirty pounds, and have now the whole sum 
ready before the ground is prepared to build it on. I 
desire nothing, in earth or heaven, but for the glory of 



302 THE LIFE OF [PART VI. 

God. 1 feel the Almighty is my defence, and to confirm 
my faith in spiritual things by temporal, he does give me 
great plenty of silver. 

The other great promise of my life was, — " Thou shalt 
walk with me in white ; I will make thee worthy." Lord, 
how far is that accomplished ? O ! shine on thy poor 
creature, and let me clearly discern and make known the 
work of thy hand ! Thou art the author of all good. 

That salvation I experienced at Hoxton, was certainly 
a drop from the living fountain, — but I had not then a full 
discovery of sin. Since that time, O what a depth of ini- 
quity, what huge mountains of ingratitude, have I mourned 
over ! I once thought I could not set down on a level 
with the greatest outward sinners. In repeating those 
lines, 

"O might I as the harlot lie, 
At those dear feet transfixed for me !" 

1 have stopped and thought, — I fear I am not right. I 
cannot feel myself the chief of sinners. I cannot repent 
of the sins which (through preventing grace) I have not 
committed. But, alas ! the sight I have had of inbred 
sin ; the base departure of my heart, from a close walk 
with God ; and the depth of self and pride I have there 
discovered, is in my eyes more dreadful than outward 
transgression. I have sometimes looked on those sin- 
ners universally despised by men, and felt in my heart 
that I preferred them to myself, while the depth of " that 
carnal mind which is enmity against God," struggled for 
the mastery. In these conflicts of soul, how often have 
I thought, If I did but know there was as great a sinner 
as myself before the throne, who nevertheless had been 
here filled with the fulness of God, after all that they had 
felt and done, it would bring a heaven into my breast! 
How often have I wept over those words. 

" If so poor a worm as I 
May to thy great glory live." 



TART VI.] MRS. FLETCHER. 303 

I feared, though the Lord was gracious, that I must not 
look to be saved, except as by fire : and that I should 
never bring that honour to God which my soul desired. 
But now, glory be to God ! that fear is done away. I seem 
to have forgot myself! I am wholly taken up with Jesus ! 
The more I look at him, the more my faith increases. 
He applies to my heart these words, " The sin of Jacob 
shall be sought for, and there shall be none : and the 
iniquity of Israel, and it shall not be found." He hath 
shown me the way to rise above the mountains of inbred 
sin. He has enabled me in hope to believe against hope, 
and so come nearer to our great pattern, " the father 
of the faithful, who staggered not at the promises, but 
was strong in faith giving glory to God !* He is the au- 
thor and the finisher of my faith !" Yes, He will make 
us worthy. I sink into nothing, and look at the Lord my 
righteousness, and I feel those believing views are trans- 
forming views ; and the more entirely I abandon myself 
into his hands, the more permanent is my peace. 

I now praise the Lord, " that where sin hath abounded, 
grace doth much more abound." The clear light I have 
into the mysteries of redeeming love, causes my strains 
of praise to run the higher. Yes, they shall love him 
most who have most forgiven ! I do not know that 1 ever 
feel my will and affections depart from him. I feel a 
childlike simplicity ; and a purity which, it seems tome, 
my very outward person must express. Yet, I am always 
committing blunders, and even showing roughness ; when 
really there is nothing but love. I used to feel just the 
contrary. I used to strive to act as a Christian ; but it 
was a constraint ; and though by the power of God 1 kept 
within the line, yet it was not free and natural. Now I 
often feel, If I could be turned inside out, I should bring 
more glory to God than I do. But that there still should 
be these blemishes in my deportment, deeply humble- 
me, and for inward and outward defects I cry, 

* that all who feel their spirit oppressed in beholding these mountain.-, 
would take this way .' How soon would they all sink into a plain i EJ 



304 THE LIFE OF [PART 



Vi. 



" Every moment, Lord, I need 
The merit of thy death ?'' 

One day lamenting before the Lord that I did not in 
my conversation more adorn the truth ; — it was brought 
to my mind, that gold must be kept in the fire, till puri- 
fied from all dross , and that even then it would be liable 
to be sullied. For that, however, a rub would suffice. 
This was very different from the purification it needed 
at first. I must ever be ashamed before Him ! And if 
any one ignorantly ascribes any thing to me, it gives me a 
pain I cannot express. Yet I think that word is more 
exemplified in me now than when I was at Hoxton, 
(though I then used the game expression in a lower 
meaning) " I live not, but Christ liveth in me." 1 now 
however discern such a vastness therein, that I am con- 
strained to cry out, 

" A point my good, a. drop my store, 
Lager I thirst, I pant for more !" 

1 am not led to speak much of my state ; I am more 
drawn to a quiet waiting on Jesus ; but on this occasion, 
I feel a call from the Lord to give my last testimony to 
hi* faithfulness. I sit at my Saviour's feet. " I am poor 
and needy, but the Lord careth for me !" Therefore " I 
am not afraid for any evil tidings, for my heart standeth 
fast, believing in the Lord." 1 think I discern the near 
approach of dissolution, and am daily made sensible of 
decay.* But swelled legs, short breath, and other mor- 
bid symptoms, give me no dreary prospect. The will and 
order of God is my choice, in whatsoever way it mani- 
fests itself. Sometimes it is suggested, that I shall be 
called to endure great conflicts in death, both outward 
and inward. Well, I have no care about it. Once I 
wished to be able to express some joy in death, in order 
to encourage those I leave behind. But now 1 see things 

* How true is that word, Lift is yours, and death is yours — all shall 
be ordered for your good! She lived hyenfy-four year? au^r this time- 

Eft. 



PART 



VI.] MRS. FLETCHER. 305 



in a different %ht. My life hath been a life of backslid- 
ing and unfaithfulness. I know not therefore what 
kind of death will bring most instruction to others, and 
most glory to God. All is in His hand, and all my pray- 
ers are lost in this, " Father, thy will be done.*' I fee! 
a bleeding wound from the loss of that dearest and best 
of men. But I am conscious he is not dead ! No ; He 
that " believeth in Jesus, shall never die." And the will 
of God is so dear to me. I rejoice it is done : though 
against my tenderest feelings. He is wise, and I kiss thr 
rod. I admire and adore ! I have communion with my 
dearest love before the throne ! He waits for, — he beck- 
ons me away ! I rest in the will of God ! And at this 
moment 

Not one wave of sorrow rolls 
Across my peaceful breast. 

I have found of late much comfort in those words. 

INFINITE WISDOM ! INFINITE POWER : INFINITE LOVE ! 

O my God ! thy infinite wisdom swallows up all my 
choice ! Thy infinite power forbids my fear ! And thy 
infinite love makes all my own ! 

And now I know this day in my heart and in my soul, 
that " not one of the good things hath failed me, of all 
the Lord my God hath spoken !" Therefore looking for 
salvation and victory alone " through the blood of the 
Lamb, and the word of our testimony." I conclude 
with Simeon's words, "Lord, now lettest thou thy ser- 
vant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy 
-•alvation. 

END OF THE SIXTH TART 



26 



3fi» 



PART THE SEVENTH, 

Extracts from her Journal. 

VV E have now gone on with Mrs. Fletcher, from the 
lime when in early youth, she obeyed that call of God 
•' Come ye out from among them, and be ye seperate 
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing y and I 
will receive you, and be a Father to you, andye shall be 

my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." We 

have seen her, like the great father of the faithful, « g0 
forth, and follow the Lord, not knowing whither she 
went." We have seen her pass through the wilderness 
of cares, and fears, and sorrows, "leaning upon her be- 
loved ;" not forgetting, however, his warning voice, 
<£ remember Lot's wife." We have beheld her wading 
Through the depths of self-knowledge, made manifest by 
the law, and the painful process of which is so strikingly 
displayed in the seventh chapter of the epistle to the 
Romans. We have travailed with her in birth, while she 
groaned, oppressed with the " carnal mind," yet, thank- 
ing God, and not despairing of deliverance, " through 
Jesus Christ our Lord." We have anticipated the vic- 
tory, while she iS encouraged herself in the Lord her 
God." We have seen her struggle, not in vain, till the 
opening heaven, displayed in the eighth chapter of that, 
glorious epistle, claimed and received her whole heart | 
We have seen this divine process continue, without any 
of those unscriptural abstractions, or subterfuges, which 
have obscured or deformed " the work of the Spirit," ia 
other devoted souls. W^hat remains, but to see if she 
carried her blessings through the trials of her remaining 
years ? — If she maintained the same undeviating path ? 
—If she held fast simplicity and love in all her inter- 
course with her fellow- creatures ? — If she continued! 



m „ti1 THE LIFE OF MRS. FLETCHER. 30? 
PART VIL J xncj 

to « deny herself daily, and take up her cross ?"— * 
__If «he persevered to the end of her race, " trusting in 
the Lord, doing good unto all, and especially to the 
household of faith." An extract from her journals, which 
are very copious, will furnish us with a clear, and, we 
hope, not a tiresome answer to these very important 
questions. Ed, 



January 1, 1792. This has been a solemn day. At 
the sacrament I gave myself afresh to the Lord. At 
night we renewed our covenant ; — My soul strove for a 
perfect dedication. It is the last time, I suppose, that 
3Ir. and Mrs. Home will be with us on this occasion, 
which added to the solemnity.* 

Friday 6. A day of solemn prayer in many parts of 

it. Yet much temptation and distraction at others. O ! 

how does my soul long for the full union. I feel a fixed 
reliance on Jesus, and an increasing desire after him. 
•*0, tell me, thou whom my soul loveth, where thou 
makest thy flock to rest at noon !" I long after thy meri- 
dian brightness. This day ten years I came first to 
Madely, and my dear husband led me through the house. 
We prayed together, and gave ourselves up into the 
hands of the Lord. What have I seen since that time ! 
Well, blessed be the Lord, I am nearer to Him, and 
more free to serve God, both inwardly and outwardly, 
than I was that night. But, I want to be a meet partaker 
with my dear, dear, holy husband now in light ! I want to 
feel a fuller degree of the spirit in which he lives ! Lord, 
thou hast said, " Whom God hath joined together, let no 
man put asunder." Are we not still one ? Thou know- 
est, O Lord, our union was fax more in the spirit than ia 
the flesh ; and 

" Can death's interposing tidn, 
Spirits one in Thee divide f" 

* Mr. Home, curate of Madely, was then preparing to s;o to Sierra 
Leone, as chaplain to that settlement. E<L 



308 THE LIFE OF [PART Vli. 

Surely no. O then make me " a partaker of the inherit- 
ance of the saints in light!" 

7th. Received to-day a striking conviction how care- 
ful I ought to be not to expose the fault or infirmity of 
any one. I want so to love my neighbours, as to feel 
all their concerns as tenderly as if they were my own. 
When 1 err in the least from this, I feel the Lord's re- 
buke. 

12th. A day of recollection. I prayed last night, 
that I might not offend with my tongue all the day. I 
knew I should be exposed to some hurrying circum- 
stances, and I pleaded in faith, that there might not come 
one word out of my mouth, that I could have a sorrow- 
ful thought for. And, blessed be His holy name, I have 
found a constant sense of a divine monitor, warning and 
keeping me the whole day. Yes, thou hast answered my 
prayer, glory be to thee, O Lord ! I have this day also 
found a sweet idea of Christ's condescending love, and 
gentle manner, in reproving his disciples. And is not 
his heart the same in heaven ? Yes, it is ! " He is the 
sarnt yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Then he doe* 
vity and bear with me ! Yes, his blood hath atoned for all. 

'< Jesus protects ; my fears be gone ! 
Who can the rock of ages move ? 
Within thine arms I lay me down, 
Thine everlasting arms of love !" 

25th. Last Saturday Mr. Home and his family set out 
from our house for Sierra Leone, the place of his mission 
in Africa. For three weeks we have been a good deal 
taken up in helping them to prepare for this great un- 
dertaking. I found much of the approval of God in all 
we had to do, and a delight in the thought, that so poor a 
worm can in the least contribute towards what appears so 
much for the glory of God. The next day was solemn. 
Mr Gilpin kindly assisted us, and encouraged us to be- 
lieve we should not suffer for what we had given up id 
obedience to God's order. His sermon was attended with 
unction. In the afternoon be was obliged to leave us 



PART VII.] M RS « LETCHER. 309 

d return to his own congregation. I had a meeting in 
our room, as there was no service in the church. There 
was a weight on my spirit. I now missed my dear hus- 
band Our being without a minister may cause many 
^agreeable things ; and I alone feel the burden. Here 
U no Mr. Home, thought I, to consult with. However, 
we had a very sweet time ! The Lord was present in a 
more than common manner. I felt liberty and freedom 
to "peak, but we were greatly crowded. Numbers went 
away for want of room, at which I was grieved. Lord., 

direct us in all our ways ! 

There is a good spirit in our people ; they feel the 
lo?s of their minister, and yet seem resigned to the will 
of God. 

March 4. Since the alove, I have passed through 
various scenes. Our room being too small for the Sun- 
day congregation, I thought it a call to go to the Dale, 
and believed the badness of the roads were not to hinder. 
But the Lord has been pleased to visit me with illness 
and has quite confined me to my room. I found muck 
peace in the divine appointment. One day the doctor 
told me he thought my case very bad ; and I had reason 
to believe I was very near my Father's house. I felt all 
n>y soul acquiesce in the divine disposal ; and though I 
had no particular joy, but rather darts from the enemy, 
nevertheless I felt my soul lie down as it were on the 
will of God, as on a soft pillow. Soon after it appeared, 
1 should for a time be better.— All was still right. O the 
blessing of having a God to trust to ! 

1 am now again enabled to attend the meetings, and I 
find an, increasing power and freedom ; but we are still 
without a minister, which causes many difficulties. Every 
day, and almost every hour, things occur to make me feel 
afresh the want of that shepherd who so naturally eared 
for our souls, and so tenderly led this flock for such a 
number of years. But I feel a pleasure in the cross.— 
It is a favour, a great favour, to suffer any thing for my 
(iod. Anew ministry has something awful. Should.it 



310 THE LIFE OF [PART 



VII. 



be carnal, what a pain will it be to me to see my dear's 
pulpit so occupied ! Should he be a spiritual man, y e t 
perhaps he will not agree with the Methodist preachers 
and that will cause dissentions, a thing unknown at Madely 
as yet. But in all I stand still, determined to be well 
pleased with all that the Lord provides. Should there 
be a disagreement, I must bear the weight on both sides. 

thou great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, I hang on 
thee I I hide me in the cleft of thy side, and as it were, 
wrap me in Thy will ! Crosses are very profitable. I 
have one foot in the grave, and often but a rough path. 
It reminded me of a dream I had when about twenty- 
three, before my soul had lost that liberty it got at Hoxton. 

1 thought I was looking through my breast at my heart, 

and it appeared very smooth and white. Presently 1 saw 

the finger of a hand with something like the blade of a 

penknife. It began to scrape ; immediately all was 

rough and brown, till after a time I saw one spot like 

white velvet. Then it was spoken to me, You must 

endure that circumcising knife till the whole is like thafc 

spot ! There was a great change at that time, and a real 

renewal as far as it went. But when afterward the keen 

and close knife was laid to, all appeared rough. O, let 

me endure till thy whole will is done ! O, the perfect 

atonement ! Yes, the blood of Christ cleanseth from all 

sin ! When a room is dark, let in the sun, and it is light! 

Yet there is no light from the room, it is all in the sun. 

So the soul uniting itself to Christ by faith, is made pure 

by that union, and kept pure by the continuance of it. 

As I was pleading that word to-day, " In this is my 

Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit,— I 

thought, it is only union with Christ that can make me 

fruitful. I had a glimpse of that union, and saw it was 

all free gift. Therefore I may ask and have the fulnew 

of the Spirit 1 Hallelujah ! 

June 22. What cause have I to trust in the Lord ! 
On May 31st, Mr. Walter came to reside. Nearly fire 
months I had the cross of being without a minister, but 



PART VII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 311 

l0 w the Lord hath provider] one who, I trust, will prore 
a man after his own heart. I have only to stand still and 
cee his salvation in all, and my spirit finds rest in so doing. 
I have of late had some very comfortable seasons in 
cpeaking to the people, and much of the presence of God, 
j havf had a dream, from which I derived some profit. 
I seemed to be assaulted by Satan. Immediately I saw a 
Man at a distance partly covered with a cloud. He 
seemed to take no notice of me for a long time ; at last 
he came up to me. As he drew near, Satan fell back. 
The Man laid his hand on my arm, and said, " Be strong." 
On which I felt a strength go through me I cannot 
describe. He then returned to the same spot, and seemed 
to take no more notice of me. After a time the enemy 
came again, and struggled hard with me. I often looked 
towards the Man, but he appeared to take no notice. 
When my strength was almost gone, I raised my left hand 
and weakly put it against the enemy, saying, The Lord 
Jesuy bruise thee beneath my feet from this time for ever ! 
upon which he fell flat to the ground. The Man behind 
the cloud then said, "Do you hear that ? Do you all 
witness it ?" To which a great number of voices, as in 
a musical note, answered — We do ! we do ! we do ! 
They seemed above me, around me, and on every side ' 
And their voices were so loud the sound awoke me. It 
seemed to point out to me two great truths. — First, That 
at those times when the Lord appears not to answer as 
my soul could wish, I am still to see him as looking upon 
me, and equally trust him when he does or does not 
speak. Secondly, That we are continually in the sight 
of the eternal world. Indeed this I always knew ; but 
\ felt it more deeply impressed. I seem peculiarly con- 
scious of the presence of the heavenly host, and would 
act, think, and speak, with the deepest reverence. 

August 16, Thursday. On Tuesday last was the anni- 
versary of my dear husband's death. Seven years have 
passed since that awful scene. Seven years has he been in 
?lory ! And I a poor mournful widow walking below 



3*2 THE LIFE OF [PART y Iit 

through my pilgrimage alone. But what mercies have I 
seen in those seven years! O, had I at first known I 
should have staid so long here, it would have looked 
very sad. But I feel more and more we are to live the 
present moment, and I find help and strength is given for 
every hour. It was a solemn but good day to me. M v 
husband seemed unspeakably dear and near to me ; but 
the love of the will of God kept me all day above every 
painful feeling. 

September 12. This summer I have been much called 
to speak in the name of the Lord, and such a way has 
been made for me, as to weather, and conveyance, and 
various circumstances, that it fully convinced me I have 
no need of care. O, how sweet is that command, " Cast 
thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee !" I 
do not know also that ever I felt such help and liberty 
from the Lord in all my life, as I have done in speaking 
this year, both winter and summer, at home and abroad. 
It is a cross to the flesh, but glory be to Thee, thy light 
doth shine on my ways ! 

This day I am 53 years old. O that I may from this 
day begin a new life ! Once more we are free from 
company ; and I am led to give myself more abundantly 
to private prayer. Since we have been alone, a deep 
conviction has rested on my mind of the shortness of 
time, and how little longer I may retain any degree of 
health. Therefore I determined to seek for an increase 
of the Spirit to unite me more to himself, as he sees 
good, so I may but glorify him. I seem to be threatened 
with a cancer, and rather seemed to shrink at the pros^ 
pect. But it may be the answer of my own prayer ; and 
I still say, Only make me holy ! 

October 4. I was led this morning to offer up my 
whole self to God. First, my body, for any suffering he 
«aw good. I leave it all to him. If any means are to be 
used, I believe the Lord will himself direct what shall b< 
done. Secondly, my reputation, — To be esteemed oi 
despised. Thirdly, my substance, to be continued oj 



PART VII.] MR9 ' FLETCHER. 



313 



withheld. Fourthly, My soul. I commit it altogether 
to the Lord. He knows I want to be fully saved ; ard I 
will consider it as my one business. Lord, get thyself 
o-lorv upon me ! The other morning I was awaked by 
those words powerfully impressed, 

" O glorious seat, thou God our King, 
Shalt thither bring our willing feet !" 

Last night those words were precious, " With favour 
will I encompass them as with a shield." My spirit 
seems to long for a closer communion. I have thought 
on those words, — " If any man love me he will keep my 
words, and my Father will love him, and we will come 
unto him, and make our abode with him." I see 1 must 
apply myself more to " do the will of God," watching 
each word and thought, and taking up every cross with 
cheerfulness. 

October 12. I have been reading over with deep at- 
tention, the Life of Mr. David Brainerd. O, what a 
deep searching book have I found it ! Many times be- 
fore have I read it through, but never so entered into the 
spirit of it as now. He observes, It was always his hea- 
ven to do the will of God, from his first conviction ; and 
he could never rest, but in doing something for the Lord, 
even when death was upon him ! Lord, make me to be 
of that mind ! To have our happiness in doing and suf- 
fering the will of God, is indeed the strongest assurance 
the soul can have of future glory. For, can any thing 
separate God's will from Himself? Neither life nor 
death can then divide the soul from his eternal presence. 
Glory be to God, I feel some little measure of this spirit. 
My delight is, that the Lord reigneth, and my rest is in 
his will. As I was thinking the other day, perhaps I 
may be called to have the cancer cut out of my breast, 
perhaps out of both, as there is pain in the other, — 
and formed the idea of the handkerchief tied over my 
eyes, and my arms bound to the chair. As I-was offering 
mvself up to the will of God, I felt those words applied, 

27 



314 THE LIFE OF [PART VIL 

"lam ready not only to be bound, but to die for the Lord 
Jesus." 

On Monday morning I had a peculiar sweetness on my 
spirit in meeting the people ; and at night 1 read and 
spoke from the 2 1 st of Matthew. It was a good time , and 
some souls were blest. On the Tuesday, being our in- 
tercession, I do not know when I have found such liber- 
ty. The Lord was very present, and a deep solemnity 
rested on the congregation ; some of whom have 
since told me, the Lord wrought much on them that night. 
Blessed be God, he still gives me to bear his message to 
the people. O that my little remaining strength and time 
may all be devoted to him. Yet I have of late been much 
tried with such a stupor upon me in the morning, that I 
cannot rise till near seven o'clock. This pains me much. 
Lord, make me more active in thy work ! I have since 
observed some answer to prayer, with regard to rising in 
the morning : Lord give me to persevere ! 

November 1 . The Lord give me to abound in charity as 
to the outward act ; but where is the difficulty of being so, 
when the Lord hath made my cup to run over ? If ever 
my charity was great, it was when I had little, expect- 
ing a prison for myself, while I was helping others. Yet 
at that time I am not sure it was cheerfully done ;— a ne- 
cessity seemed laid upon me. But now, though 1 give 
much, and am much employed for the poor, yet I fear I 
do not save all I might for them out of what is spent on 
my worthless self. How has the Lord appeared tor me i 
Another's grace, another's wisdom, another's manage- 
ment '—My father's and husband's money all devoted to 
my service 1 all gathered together to serve me ! While 
these thoughts came rolling over my mind, those word* 
presented themselves, « When I sent you without purse 
or scrip, lacked ye any thing ? And they said, Nothing. 

November 13, Tuesday. Yesterday concluded eleven, 
years since my dear husband and 1 were made one. It 
was a solemn day to me. I strove to renew my mar- 
riage covenant with the Lord ; but it was a day of 



~«,^tt1 MRS. FLETCHER. 315 

PART ^ n.j 

m . I had no near access.— xMuch of it was em- 
ployed' among the people, as Monday usually is. In 
f h e morning meeting I had some liberty, and ^rnore _at 
! lic ht, while reading and speaking on the 12th of the 

Hebrews. ., 

December 1. I was much encouraged in consider- 

inu that it is the office of Jesus to « Baptize with the 

Holy Ghost." How is it we so to neglect to look ior 

.he fulfilment of that office of our Lord ! Did he not say, 

*. He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers 

of living water. And this he spake of the bpirit, 

which they who believe on him were to receive. 

This gift of the Holy Ghost is therefore the very thing 

believers are to look for. No matter what they call 

it a clean heart, salvation from evil tempers, purity, 

or what they will, -it makes no difference. There is a 

baptism of the Spirit for believers to receive, and which 

I'have had a taste of; but I want the fulness. The 

Lord is faithful,— it shall come. Yes, I see it, I come 

near it, 1 feel a touch of it while writing ; yet my faith 

wants a further lift. Lord, it must be all thy own 

doing? . -^ T. 

December 2. I was talking yesterday with one who 

told me many were much alarmed about the nation. — 
That inflammatory papers were throwing about among 
the army, and it is feared they will raise among them 
such a spirit as reigns in those of France. I was led to 
consider that and various other things, which appeared 
to me as signs of the times. At night I felt much liberty 
in pleading for our good King, and that God would restrain 
the evil ones,*who are striving to raise a spirit of ingrati- 
tude and rebellion in our nation. I felt comfort in my old 
wor( j _" The Lord reigneth !" 

December 11. This has been on the whole a good 
day. 1 cannot say I have found so much liberty in the 
times of family prayer as I usually have ; but in the five 
times of my private approaches to the Lord, I think I 
have each time had a greater degree of it. 



316 THE LIFE OF [PART VII, 

December 16, Sunday. My spirit pants after God! 
O Lord, glorify thyself upon me ; this is what I long for, 
and pray for- I seem like a poor beggar waiting at 
mercy s door ; oft full of hope, and then again the dooF 
seems shut. I want the spirit of prayer. I want also a 
more self-denying spirit. Last night I dreamed my dear 
husband wrote a line for me to read. I took up the 
paper with desire, and read — " Those who closely follow 
Jesus Christ, can discern the mark of the thorn in his 
steps." As soon as I was dressed I lighted a candle, and 
opened the Bible to read, when I cast my eyes on those 
words, " Seeing Christ hath suffered in the flesh, arm 
yourselves also with the same mind." I see it. If I 
would walk with Christ, I must know my path by that 
very mark, a constant death to my own will. Lord, show 
me how to walk thus ! Give me a steady power to rise 
the very moment the alarm goes off. To watch against 
sloth all day, and to use more abstemiousness in my food. 
I believe this Avould be good both for soul and body ; 
and I have asked it of the Lord, that Sally may see it in 
the right light, and not fret and be unhappy when I do 
not take what she thinks 1 ought. This is oft a mighty 
hinderance to me in little mortifications which I would use. 
1 am quite clear I have no right to hurt my body. I am 
not, I think, in any danger of that. But often self-denial 
promotes health. I hope to begin to-morrow,— a day 
which we had set apart to pray for the nation, and for 
the children on whom the Lord had begun to work. 
I propose to keep a watch over my appetite each day, 
and this indeed the Lord hath already given me ; but 
to this I would add, a shadow (for I cannot call it more,) 
of a fast, twice a week. On Mondays and Fridays I 
would omit butter in the morning, eating dry bread, and 
as usual rosemary tea without sugar. For dinner water 
gruel, with salt and pepper, and as on other days, tea 
for my supper. — This cannot hurt my health, and may 
be a kind of remembrancer, that there is such a duty as 
self-denial. 



PART VII-] MR3, FLETCHER. 317 

February 9, 1793. The watch-night, the last evening 
of the year, and the intercession, the first of this year, 
were both favoured with much of the presence of God, 
and some souls were a good deal stirred up. Blessed be 
the Lord, the work does not cease. How melancholy 
did our situation appear when Mr. Home was called 
away! But we are comfortably provided for in a minis- 
ter. O, how good it is to stand still, and commit all 
our ways to God ! This day my spirit has been waiting 
on the Lord, and enabled to keep in his presence. 

March 20. This morning I felt a power to ask, That 
I might be kept from grieving the Holy Spirit all the 
day. I knew there would be much hurry and many 
distractions. Glory be to my God 1 I found Jesus a 
sweet refuge, and a freedom from all confusion or hurry 
of thought all the day. The presence of the Lord keeps 
all in peace. This day I have experienced afresh the 
fulfilment of my former promise of having plenty of silver. 
Among other things I have had some singular opportu- 
nities of helping the church, and the poor, each in small 
portions. Oh ! how can I praise the Lord sufficiently 
for such an indulgence ! What numbers of his dear 
children am I enabled to assist ! Bless the Lord, O my 
soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name ! 

March 26. This morning having some painful thoughts 
respecting the cancer, I carried them to the Lord. A 
sweet calm came over my spirit. I could freely offer 
up all to God. He knows, if I saw my way clear, I am 
ready every hour to submit to the operation. While 
I waited in calm and peaceful resignation, that word 
occurred to my mind, " Can there be evil in the city, 
and the Lord hath not done it ?" I said, No! it is all in 
his hand. It can rise no higher than he pleases. I 
thought also, If my dear husband was with me, and had 
power over the complaint, should I be under any con- 
cern about it? I answered, No, I should not. My 

tender partner would direct and help me through all. 

2 7 * 



318 THE LIFE OF [PART VH. 

Well, said my heart, my heavenly Bridegroom is more 
powerful, more loving, more present, than the dearest 
human friend can be. I have nothing to do but stand still, 
and he will instruct me in the way I should go. I have 
his own promise, all shall work together for my good. 
Even my mistake, if I am under one respecting this 
disease, all shall be for good. I am alone, and have none 
to direct me. Therefore I give up all to my Lord! and 
as we order for an infant, so will he order all for me. 
Whatever is His choice is mine. 

April 1. Yesterday being Easter Sunday, I felt a 
desire to give up all my concerns into the hands of God, 
by a fresh dedication of myself to him at his table. I 
was much troubled the night before with a suggestion, 
That I ought to have the cancer cut out, and that I should 
see it so by and by. 1 ventured to pray that if it were 
the will of God that I should stand still and wait on 
Him, He would give me a peculiar blessing on the 
morrow. My prayer was graciously heard. So com- 
fortable a Sabbath I have not had for years. I gave up 
soul and body into the Lord's hand, with a firm con- 
Jidence, that he would order for me, as a tender husband 
for a wife ; and when I went to the table I was enabled 
to consider it as the seal of our mutual covenant, and 
my faith has ever since found an increase. The marks 
of death seem to be upon me, and they are a great 
blessing ! I seem continually called to offer myself up 
as in martyrdom ; and so many sweet promises came 
before me, assuring me of the tender care of my Lord, 
that I sometimes think never was a creature so safe and 

50 happy. 

April 4. Reflecting this morning on the various ways 
m which different persons express themselves concerning 
sanctification, or what is called Christian perfection,;! 
was led to think,— May it not be thus expressed, I fee) 
a degree of faith which continually unites me to God, 
through the atoning blood. " I abide in Christ," through 
whom I am always nccepted, and I feel nothing contra; 



PART VII.] MRS * FLETCHER. 319 

to love. Yea, I am far from what I ought to be ; and I 
obey with joy my Lord's admonition, " When ye have 
done all, say, I am an unprofitable servant." Being 
taken into Christ, as a drop of water into the ocean, I 
lose myself in him, and find in him my all, for time and 
for eternity ! Now a measure of this state 1 do feel ; 
and I feel strong drawings to expect a clearer fellowship, 

, a throwing open the everlasting doors of my soul, and 

a more powerful entrance of the King of glory ! 

Saturday, 6. I went this morning to see a sick family 
lately come into the town, and ill of a putrid fever, 
of which the father died. O, how dark did I find all 
those who were recovered ! The various places I called 
at yielded little satisfaction, till we came to D. The 
o-irl was just on the point of marriage with a pious young 
man, and every way to her advantage. But instead of 
this, she is now brought to death's door by a painful and 
dangerous disorder. She told me she did not find her 
inclination at all to this world ; that she had much rather 
die than live. She added, " How good is the Lord in 
all he does ! The apothecary gives me bitter medi- 
cines to do me good, and I love him for it, though he 
may mistake and do me harm. But God cannot mistake, 
and shall I not love Him ? O, He keeps my mind so 
quiet, I can leave all unto Him. Sometimes I have great 
temptations, and reason whether I have not brought it 
all on myself, by taking too hard a place." I observed, 
But you went there believing it to be for the best ? 
■• Yes, (she replied) and the Lord soon comforts me 
again, if such thoughts come. 

" The other night I dreamed I was dead. I thought I 
was looking down on this bed, and said, There is the 
spot on which my crown was brightened, and I have not 
had one pain too much ; and so I shall say when I get to 
glory." Her words were exceedingly animating to me. 
When she first met with me among the children, I always 
observed her deep attention. O, how she has grown £h 
grace ! 



320 THE LIFE OP [PART VII. 

May 14. The first Sunday of this month I was at the 
Dale. We had a crowded house ; but I felt such liberty, 
both of mind and voice, as I but seldom remember to 
have had. I spoke near an hour from that word, " They 
shall ask their way to Zion, with their faces thitherward." 
In the last meeting we had great liberty, blessed be the 
Lord ! On Monday night I found also uncommon free- 
dom at our home meeting, and the congregation was very 
large. Tuesday's class was also good ; but from that 
time I have been laid up with pains in my head, face 
and all over me, attended with a slight fever. During 
this season I have been led to consider what numerous 
mercies I am surrounded with ! My cup runs over. 
Though I have not that near access to my God 1 long for, 
yet I do feel such safety, such confidence in his love, 
that I am, in the midst of all, enabled still to say and feel, 

" One only care my soui shall know, 
Father, all thy commands to do." 

July 1. Last night a man called, whose daughter lies 
in this infectious fever which has carried off so many. 
He said, she desired to see Sally, as she was much dis- 
tressed in her soul, and it was too far off for me to go 
there. Sally asked me what she should do ? Finding 
her own mind quite free to it as the call of God, I felt it 
Gome near, for she is my greatest consolation, next to 
God, and useful as a right-hand. I looked up, and felt 
the power of these words, " The hairs of your head are 
all numbered." I said in my heart, If the Lord should 
have appointed to take her from me by this mean, shall I 
say to him, What doest thou ? No, I will cling to that 
word, " Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in 
heaven." It was suggested, you lost your husband by a 
putrid fever ; perhaps Sally may be taken also by it. 
But shall I refuse her devoting her life to the glory of 
God ? Shall I hold back the dearest thing I have upon 
earth from Jesus, who gave himself for me ? My soul 
cried out, No, my Lord, my Saviour, no ! I offer ap 



FART VII.] MRS " FLETCHER. 321 

every Isaac to thy will. She went, and found the woman 
under a concern for her soul. All consequences I leave 

to my God. 

I am amazed how free my mind is from care ! Those 
things which used to burden me, are now as nothing. I 
have learned to stand still, and Jesus, my adorable Sa- 
viour, takes care of all. 

August 14. This has been a solemn day. And is it 
indeed eight years since my dearest husband went to 
glory ? What a night was that to me ! I was at this 
hour waiting at his bedside, with my eyes immoveably 
fixed upon his dear, calm, peaceful, dying countenance. 
I have this day gone through the scene ; but glory be to 
God, in a different manner than when we seemed on the 
point of separation. Yea, already parted, for he could 
not show any sensibility towards me. But this day it has 
been constantly on my mind, as if we thought and did all 
together. Yes, thou dear spirit, well didst thou say to 
me in that dream, " I am not dead, I live !" Yes, 
thou dost live ; and I have no doubt hast helped me this 
day to feel an uncommon peace, such as I sometimes 
have felt when dreaming, and having, in a peculiar man- 
ner, a sense of the presence of heavenly spirits. There 
are seasons when the mind joining itself to the Lord, and 
abiding in that posture, feels a kind of anticipation of the 
blissful union enjoyed in the realms of light, and has com- 
munion, more or less sensible, with the spirits before the 
throne. Some faint touches of this I have felt this day. 
At my first waking in the morning, my soul cried to the 
Lord, that it might be indeed a day of consecration and 
dedication of all my powers to that God, whose I am. 
and whom I desire perfectly to serve. 

December 21. My soul has for some days been in a 
peculiar exercise. O Lord, keep me from every snare, 
and never let me be drawn into any thing but according 
to thy will ! I wish to help souls, and to obey thy order ; 
but in so doing it is hard to avoid many things disagree- 
able. Lord, give me a fuller plunge into thyself, thaf 



322 THE LIFE OF [PART \u, 

my conversation may be always in heaven ! And the 
desire to please, or fear of contempt, remove far from 
me ! O for a single eye, fixed alone on God ! 

The lump in my breast is removed, in a wonderful 
manner in answer to prayer ! I could not find freedom 
to use any of the things I was advised to, only the goose- 
grass juice, a quarter of a pint twice a day. After some 
months the upper lump became less, and is now quite 
gone, as far as I can perceive ! nor do I find now any 
pain in either. Glory be to God ! 

May 7, 1794. I had some encouragement in prayer 
last night and this morning ; and I was lead to plead that 
my soul might be filled with the Spirit, that my tongue, 
being touched with the fire of heavenly love, might be 
enabled to plead the cause of truth, in a different manner 
to that which it now doth. 

We have been encouraged in seeing some souls 
brought in. G. M. for whom we have long waited, 
sometimes with hope, sometimes with fear, has now 
fou-nd ths Lord most clearly. O what a change does 
erace make ! She is indeed a new creature ; and her 
mouth is open in His praise who hath brought her out of 
darkness into his marvellous light. 

June 4. What answers to prayer have I seen of late ! 
My gracious Lord seems to count each hair indeed. 
When I was at the Dale again last Sunday, he gave such 
a liberty in speaking as I have seldom experienced. The 
congregation was very large. As I entered the chapel, 
the heat was almost ready to beat me back. When I had 
got through to my seat, the sun lay on it, and there were 
but a few small openings to admit air. One of these is 
by my seat, but I observed no air come in that way. It 
appeared as if my voice must be lost with the heat. I 
looked to the Lord, and said, My Father, turn the air 
this way, if thou seest good ! The time being come, I 
began giving out the hymn, and forgot my prayer. But 
as 1 was just ready to faint, such a fine breath of fresh 
air came in as quite revived me. Then I recollected 



PART VII.] MRS * FLETCHER. 328 

what I had asked. The next two lines which I had to 
give out were, 

" For our Shepherd and King, 
Cares much for his sheep." 

how my heart went with the words, and set to its seal 
that they were true ! Contrary to what is usual with me, 

1 was an hour and three quarters. My strength held out. 
and the dear people, though violently crowded, stood like 
wax-work ; and many wished the service had been longer. 

An affair which perplexed my mind, I find quite remo- 
ved by prayer. I can do nothing but in that way. O 
my Lord, did ever a soul feel more of that word, Without 
me ye can do nothing? But I wait for a revelation of Je- 
sus Christ in my soul more full and strong than I ever had. 

June 10. While I was this morning speaking to a back- 
slider, I had such a sight of the narrow way, as greatly 
animated my soul. I see there is no way to keep life 
and communion with God, but by strictly adhering to the 
words of St. Paul, " I am determined to know nothing 
among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified." There 
must be a shutting the door of the soul against any thing 
else ; not only sin, but any care or meddling with what 
we are not called to attend unto. 

August 1. I feel my health decline. This very hot 
summer affects me exceedingly. My legs swell greatly, 
unless constantly bound with many yards of flannel. I 
am very weak, and my breath very short. Yet I am ena- 
bled to keep all my meetings both abroad and at home, 
and have found the Lord much with me all the summer 
in this respect. He gives me out strength for my day. 
Some remarkable providences have happened lately. I 
think them worth preserving. A short time since a maa 
and his wife, who lived near some of our good brethren, 
were by them oft invited to the preaching, that has been 
lately established in that place ; but they turned it off, 
saying, they had something better to do. When the 
Bridgenorth races came on, they were preparing to go. 



324 THE LIFE OF [PART Vll. 

R. W then reminded them of their plea against hearing 
the word, that " They must mind their work, and had 
something better to do." But the man said, they were 
determined to go, and have two good days there. In the 
first day he got so heated that on the second he came 
home in a fever, and died the day following ! How little 
did he think, when setting off for the races, that he had 
not three days to live ! 

Another awful judgment was as follows. — A young man 
was working with Brother Williams in the Forge. — He 
swore in a dreadful manner. Williams reproved him, 
urging the destruction such a conduct would bring upon 
him. He turned all into ridicule, — saying, He was a 
match for the devil. Presently after, he went to the ale- 
house and got drunk. He then got into a wagon which 
was going his way. As he sat on the side, he fell back- 
wards, and was taken up dead I O, the little day of life, 
how eminently precious! 

August 14. Nine years this day my dear love has 
been in glory ! But I have seen much of mercy in this 
time, and have learned more abundantly to trust in the 
Lord. All convinces me, in a deeper and deeper man- 
ner, of that truth, All my ways are in his hand, and he 
directs my paths. Though my dear husband seems as 
dear to me as ever, yet I can praise the Lord for full 
resignation. Reflecting the other day on the manner I 
was'affected at the awful season of his death, I could not 
but see in it cause of praise. Though his life or death 
was the closest thing under the heaven to me, yet each 
day and hour of that most solemn week, I could never 
once ask his life, without adding,-T% will, Thy will be 

°Au<mst 22. I grow very poorly in body. My taber- 
nacle°seems taking down. I feel an almost constant fever, 
with great confusion and dizziness m my head. 1 can 
scarcely do any business ; and the writing a letter seems 
to affect me smugly. In this state I have been some 
months, so that the least exertion wearies me, and gives 



PART VII.] MRS< * FLETCHER, 325 

me pain all over. Yet when the hour of meeting, whe- 
ther of people or children, comes, I am enabled to get 
through the duty, and sometimes with uncommon power I 
Glory be to God ! My nights also are very restless, yef 
I get some sleep, and am not in any violent pain. My 
Lord does all things well. 

September 12. This day, if my dear husband had 
lived, he would have been sixty-five years old, and I am 
fifty-five. I have lived more than half a century. Lord, 
to what purpose ? I know the Lord is still graciously 
working in my soul. I feel a more constant going out 
after God. My spiritual senses seem more awake : — and 
yet I never found it harder to pray when on my knees ! 
The resistance of principalities and powers, I have been 
made particularly acquainted with. Indeed it is a narrow 
way. With regard to outward things, I see nothing but 
mercy, — miracles of mercy ! Every thing appears so in 
the hand of God as I cannot express. Even the smallest 
occurrence on my affairs seems directed of God ! I wished, 
or rather thought, if the room could be enlarged, it would 
be a blessing. And now, on account of the church being 
taken down, the wardens, iu order to accommodate the 
parish, are enlarging it, for the Sunday service to be 
there. By this means, the meeting will be enlarged 
without any expense to me.* 

September 30. I found this morning, while at prayer 
with the family, and with the work-people who were 
taking up the potatoes, that the Lord was present. I felt 
him so. At the time of morning prayer in private, I had 
also an unusual liberty. I then had a foreign letter to 
write, in which I sensibly felt the help of my gracious 
Lord. He rendered some things easy which were in 
themselves difficult. O Jesus, thou art made unto us wisdom' 
It appears to me, and experience confirms it, that it is 
peculiarly pleasing to the Lord, that we should look up to 

* Henry the Fourth of France, used to say to his 'great and faithful mi- 
nister, " Sully, mind my business, and I will mind yours." Ed. 

28 



326 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

Him for help in the least things as freely as the greatest. 
He who numbers every hair, will lead us as a child is led 
by its mother, and carried in her arms over every diffi- 
cult path. 

December 5. My soul has been much drawn out 
lately, to ask a close walk with God ; more brokenness of 
heart, and a clearer sight of my utter helplessness. I 
have found this week, that several souls have been blest. 
I seem the only dry fleece. The Lord has been pleased 
that I should suffer some humiliations, which always do 
me good ; yet he is much with me in speaking in his name. 
This morning, as we were rising, Sally told me what a 
sweet dream she had in the night. She thought she was 
meeting the people, and while at prayer, she was so over- 
whelmed with the power of God, and had such a sense 
of the Divine Trinity entering into, and purifying her soul, 
that she said in her heart, This is the baptism of the Spirit 
which hath purified my heart from all sin ! And such a 
light shone in her soul, as seemed to bear a clear witness 
thereto. She thought, I will tell the people, that they 
may glorify God. Immediately it was suggested, No, 
stay till you have got through the trials which are before 
you. She answered, No ; I will glorify him now ; and in 
earnestly pressing the people to seek the same liberty, 
she awoke. I can never enough bless and praise the 
Lord for the great favour he hath done me in this dear 
young woman. She is niece to my honoured friend, 
Mrs. Ryan ; and truly, she partakes of her spirit, and her 
whole soul seems to be engaged in the work. This has 
been a day of recollection. I have felt my want, and fol- 
lowed after God ; and, I think, have found in some sense, 
each thought brought into subjection unto Christ. 

December 24. Many mercies have I seen of late. 
Some circumstances of expense occurred, and immedi- 
ately some increase of necessitous objects followed. I 
felt this to be a weight. When Sally, or myself, visited 
the poor, and beheld great straits, we were sometime* 
-oastrajned to withhold help, because my calculation 



TART VII. j MRS# FLETCHER. 32? 

would not allow it, though I had cut off what expense 
I could, according to my best light. This I therefore laid 
before the Lord, and felt thoroughly content, either to 
help or not, as should be most for his glory. In a few 
days I received a letter from my brother, with a proposal 
so to dispose of a part of my money, as was likely to raise 
me several additional pounds this year. One called also 
and promised the payment of live guineas, which I had 
quite given up for lest. In a variety of little incidents, I 
have discerned such a guiding hand of Providence, as^ 
hourly confirms the truth of that word, " The hairs of 
your head are all numbered." 

April 7th, 1795. Glory be to God J He hath been 
working on some souls of late ; and I see a spirit ol 
mighty prayer poured on one in particular. Yet i< 
*eems as if Satan was striving to bring hinderances among 
us. Some things I fear will cause offence, in particular 
this child, whom the Lord hath certainly blest in a won- 
derful manner. Lord, keep out all wrong spirits, I be- 
seech thee ! I know the wisdom of man cannot compre- 
hend thy work ; but let no real enthusiasm enter ! 
Keep us steady and firm, resting only on the sure 
foundation. 

Some days ago I called on Mrs. Yate.* — We had a 
close and comfortable conversation. She told me she 
had for some months had a very sweet and solid rest •, 
and all her words in the class had expressed the same. 
She had been long very poorly, but she had strove to 
bear up under it without complaint. She now felt her 
strength fail, and had an almost continual pain in her riglr 
side. Her peace, however, continued, and she could 
leave all to the Lord. She further observed, — That she 
had for some time found such a full sense of the all-suffi- 
ciency of God, as she could not express. Shortly after, 

* Mrs. Yate was daughter of the late Nathanael Gilbert, Esq. Speaker 
of the House of Assembly in the Island of Antigua. He was an intimate 
friend of Mr. Wesley, and the first preacher[of the Gospel to the Negroes 
in the West Indies. He endured that cross, despising the shame. Ed, 



328 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

as she was one night lying awake, she felt a powerful 
application of that word, " Cast thy burden on the Lord, 
and he will sustain thee." In a day or two more, she 
was confined to her bed, the fever strong, the pain in 
her side severe, and oft forced to rise in the bed to 
breathe. In this situation she has been several nights ; 
and this morning, she has been confirming to me what 
she had already observed, — That the Lord kept her 
every moment. I have (said she) never found a shadow 
of impatience. — 1 can neither eat nor sleep, but I have 
no desire for either. My strength goes fast, but I feel 
myself perfectly content with all the Lord's dispensations. 
I used to feel great fear of death, but I have not any of 
it now ; and the thought of leaving my children, whom 
i so much desire to bring up for the Lord, used to fill 
me with much pain. But I feel strangely free, and can 
with confidence put them in the Lord's hand, and leave 
them there t Her words were to me refreshing and ani- 
mating. I can bear witness what a pattern of tender 
conscience, and meek submission she has been. She 
is now better, and I trust will be spared to us a little 
longer. 

May 22. 1 had a sweet lesson from the Lord this 
morning. I was inquiring why I did not hold the blessing 
of sanctification more steadily ? — and it seemed that the 
Lord answered me, — That it was because I forgot the 
observation I have so often made to the people, of 
the rattle-snake and the squirrel. She looks at the rat- 
tle-snake, till through fear she drops into his mouth.* 
So when my soul is striving to abide in Jesus, under some 
peculiar trials, a temptation to discouragement presents 
itself ; I look at it, and grow discouraged. Instead of 
that, I ought " to reckon myself dead unto sin, and alive 
unto righteousness." In so doing I should " resist the 
devil, who would soon flee from me." Also, I clearly 
saw, that I should watch in conversation, and never con- 

^The illustration i« aood.y.hal.^-ri- becomes of (he fact. K'J. 



PART VII.] MRS ' *L ETCHER « 329 

tradict unless for conscience sake ; remembering that 
command, " Let your gentleness be known unto all 
men ," as carrying that consciousness, « The Lord is at 

a Tune 24. Glory be to God ! I have experienced many 
very particular answers to prayer of late. For some 
time past I saw it the call of God that I should go out 
every Sunday to the Wood and the Dale alternately, lor 
< v time. I feared the heat of the houses, but the Lord 
look care for that. If the weather was ever so hot in 
the week, it was always cool on the Sabbath. Blessed 
be the Lord, He was with us of a truth, and 1 ex- 
perienced both inward and outward help beyond my 
expectation. 

August 14. Ten years this day I have been a widow. 
Last night I found liberty in pleading with the Lord for 
the fulfilment of my dear love's last prayer, " Head of 
the church, be head* to my wife ;" and this day I have 
been renewing my covenant with the Lord, to be wholly 
at his disposal. To abandon my whole self, body, soul, 
and spirit, with every concern for time and eternity, into 
his hand. Often I have done this, but on this day I 
peculiarly love to renew the solemn dedication. I have 
found a deeper view than ever, into the sinfulness of sin, 
—I mean what an aggravated burden my sins added to 
the sufferings of my Redeemer ! Those words, " Ye 
are not your own, ye are bought with a price," were im- 
pressed on my mind. Then I thought on that word also, 
" They to whom much is forgiven, shall love much :" 
and I had some power to claim that abundant love my 
spirit so pants after. But I discerned so many blemishes 
in all I have ever done, said, or thought, that I was 
forced to look to my great Sacrifice. There I could see 
infinite perfection. " It pleased the Father, that in him 
should all fulness dwell." Casting my eyes on the Bible 
open before me, it presented the cure .of Naaman. I 
was led from that to consider, how easy it was with the 

2.8 -* 



330 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

Lord to perform as perfect a cure on my soul, as on 
Naaman's body ! 

September 12. Had a good time this morning i n 
prayer. Afterward in reading the account of Prudence 
Williams, (Magazine, vol. 12.) I was much struck to 
think how the power of God was seen in her great sal- 
vation. In the bloom of youth, a good husband, whom, 
she had been happy with for one year, — A fine boy likely 
to live, affectionate relations, every thing to hold her. 
here ; — and yet with what noble freedom did she leave, 
all, preferring her heavenly Beloved to every, earthly joy ! 
It brought to my mind a word given me the other day 
in prayer, The glory of the Lord shall arise upon them, and 
Ms glory shall be seen upon them. This day I am fifty-six. 
O Lord, how little of thy glory has been yet seen upon 
me ! O, let my remaining life be spent to thy praise ! 

21. We began the Monday meetings again this morn- 
ing, which had been stopped a few weeks on account of 
the women being in the harvest. Blessed be God, they 
have not lost as much as I feare'd they would. In this 
the Lord hath heard prayer indeed. B. T. spoke 
sweetly, her words animated my soul. And B. B. ob- 
served, in a very lively manner, what a difference she 
found between this and former harvests, and plainly, 
described the fruit of the new creature. She was asto- 
nished to think what unthankfulness she used to feel.. 
But, said she, every bit I picked up this year, seemed so 
to come from the Lord ! and her heart overflowed with, 
praise and thanksgiving. Poor Jane, also, gave good, 
proof of a mighty change, though a few months ago an. 
open sinner ! 

October 8. The Lord has been in a very particular; 
way showing me the depth of iniquity which hath beeife 
m all my life.* O, what a scene ! the heights of folly, 

* What a mystery is this unveiling of the human heart, to the self- 
satisfied, self-righteous world ! When God discovers to his children (for, 
>n rone else can it be discovered,) « by his holy law written in their hearts,, - 



PART VII.] MRS « FLETCHER. 331 

and the depths of selfishness ! What did my Jesus bear 
for me ! Yes, he hath borne it all. He hath made a 
full and perfect sacrifice for me ! I can come to him as 
my full atonement. But I cannot bring him that glory I 
would, without a fuller change. I seem to have a hold 
of God more firm and steadfast, and a great expectation 
from his mere mercy. He hath done the work indeed 
forme, and I believe He will do it in me. So I shall 
become the " little child, to whom it is the Father's good 
pleasure to give the kingdom," 

Last night our tickets were renewed. It was a very 
solemn time. We had four new members. Mr. Bald- 
win preached on — " Are there few that be saved ?" He 
showed how out of a company of professors, few might 
be truly in " the narrow way." — That it called for the 
full exertion of all our powers, that we may " enter ia 
at the strait gate." I found it a very sweet season. 
Afterward while he met the men's class, Mrs. Walter 
and I had a comfortable conversation on holiness ; and as 
I was speaking to her, O, how did I see all depended 
on having the mind stayed on Jesus ! That our one 
business is, to look at him our complete Saviour. 

Tuesday, November 10. I awaked this morning with 
these words, 

" To keep your armour bright, 
Attend with constant care, 
For ever walking in his sight, 
And-watching unto prayer." 

At my time of prayer, I found a cry in my soul that I 
might do so. When pleading for the people and the 
work, that it might be carried on in any way the Lord 
sees good, I felt my mind divested of any choice. Some 

net only the iniquity that is manifest there, but all that their. hearts are 
"capable of;" — this is a scene indeed! Let those to whom these dis- 
coveries are made, take heed that " their faith fail not. The blood of the 
covenant," and " the great and precious promises" will fully reach their 
rase. This discovery is a needful preparation, in order to their belnsr 
' cleansed, bj faith, from all unrighteousness. 1 ' Ed- 



334 THE LIFE OF [PART \ll. 

the Majesty on high," fully set free from all my sins, 
wherewith he had charged himself. I saw him " deli' 
vered to death for my transgressions, and raised aa;ain 
for my justification." I had a sweet view how the be- 
liever, though weak and feeble, continued thus free. 
The Saviour "bears the iniquity of our holy things." 
How true, how sweet is that word, " If thou canst believe, 
all things are possible !" Yes, he hath said, " He that 
cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out.'* My soul 
rested on his satisfaction with peaceful enjoyment, and I 
fed on those words of the prophet, " And he shall build 
the temple of the Lord." Yes, I depend on thee, " my 
Priest, my Atonement, my Intercessor," I depend on thee 
alone to make my soul and body " the living temple of the 
Holy Ghost." 

January 4, 1796. This year has begun with a solemn 
sense of eternity on my soul. On the first day we had the 
covenant with peculiar solemnity, and many were blest. 
On the third Mr. Walter preached in my room, on Cut it 
down, why cumbereih it the ground. It was a precious 
time. 

January 5. This day I have been fourteen years in 
Madely. It seems but as yesterday. What crucify. 
mg scenes have I passed through ! Yet not one too 
much. No, my adorable Lord, Thou hast done all things 
■well ! 

April 27. Reading a little diary of dear Mrs. Yate, has 
been as marrow and fatness to my soul. It searched me 
deeply. O how much earnest agonizing do I discern in 
her soul ! And yet she is ever complaining of sloth. 

my Lord, what am I ? Yet 1 feel the Lord does keep 
me more steadily looking to himself. But I do not get 
into the full rest I want, every moment feeling an all- 
sufficient God. 

Tuesday, May 11th. These words were powerful, 
They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. But 

1 did not continue on my diligent watch. Some useless 
thoughts crept in ; and though I have been striving most 



PART VII.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 335 

of the day, I seem as if I could not feel as I did yester- 
day. O Lord, heal me ! Thou knowest my unfaith- 
fulness, and thou alone canst make me what thou wouldst 
have me to be. A circumstance occurred yesterday 
which I found good. One who came to me told me 
some things that had been said, which to nature would 
be grating, and once would have been a great trial. But 
I found power to embrace the humiliation, and could 
share with joy His lot who was " counted a worm and 
no man, the scorn of men, and the reproach of the 

people." 

Considering my various complaints, I see death not 
far off, and it seems my business, and one concern, to 
bend all my thoughts that way. O to awake up after 
His likeness ! Lord, get thyself glory on me ! I pant to 
be all like thee ! 

June 10. Last night for some hours 1 could not sleeps 
having much fever. But 1 found it a good time of plead- 
ing with the Lord, that he would glorify himself on me. I 
pleaded that blessed word, " They who have much for- 
given shall love much." 

December 31. Another year is almost at an end. How 

is my soul ? Lord, what have I gained this year ? I feel 

more liberty in prayer, more hunger and thirst after 

God ; yet only in a small advance to what 1 would 

be. I feel an unspeakable nearness to eternity, and a 

deep sense of its importance. O that 1 tiny live to God 

as I have never yet done ! This morning pleading that 

word, Whatsoever ye ask in my name, I will do it, 1 felt 

my confidence increase, and can firmly rely on the word 

of the Lord. I did, and do now, ask such a state of 

soul as will most glorify my Lord. 1 ask to dwell in love. 

It appears to me there can be no witness equal to this. 

When I dwell, constantly dwell, in the element of love, 

there can be no room for a doubt. But my hinderance 

from entering fully into this state, is the want of looking 

every moment to Jesus. I am sensible 1 should grow 

fast if J unremittingly kept my eye fixed on Him. But 



336 THE LIFE OP [PART VII. 

since I have more ardently desired this, it seems as if all 
hell opposed it,* and as it were forced away my mind, 
or brought black clouds between me and my views of 
heaven. Yet will I persevere ; yea, I will hang upon 
thy word, believing the cloudless day shall come. 

January 4, 1797. Much comfort I have had in meet- 
ing the Tuesday class in the morning. They almost every 
one seem to have renewed their vigour with the^ new 
year. O, how did they praise God, saying, they had 
never known such a Christmas ! Several of these were, 
a few months since, strong in the devil's service. They 
are now rejoicing in the Lord ! But poor C. D. — nothing 
could comfort him. He seemed locked up in dark 
despair, till at the covenant on Sunday night the Lord 
set him at liberty. On Tuesday night while he was 
speaking, how did my heart leap for joy ! O, what an 
answer to prayer ! On Wednesday morning the meeting 
was also very lively, and several seem to have begun the 
new year in the most solemn spirit of prayer. How 
many of these likewise were a few months ago dark 
sinners ! O Lord, we hope to see more and more of thy 
power among us. 

March 20. "Gracious is the Lord, and merciful." 
O, how much of his faithfulness have I seen of late ! 
More and more do I discover how he orders all for us. 
Some affairs of late have threatened distress to the nation, 
and loss to me. But the tender care and wise disposal 
of' the Lord was so set before me, that I was enabled to 
praise him as I could not have done had not these things 
occurred. And he made me to know in the end, that he 
does indeed make a hedge about me, and all concerning 
me. O, what a treasure do 1 see in these words — " I will 
be your God, and you shall be my sons and daughters, 
saith the Lord Almighty !" 

* The devil knows it is the very thing that will overcome hira. It is this. 
'ilone that will deliver us from that worldly spirit, which is the element in 
which he works. Every thing is little compared to this faith. Ed. 



FART VII.] MRS " FLETCHER. 337 

April i. F° r some da y s m y soul has keen k eenr J 

tried by an accusation of the enemy, on account of a for- 
mer transaction, in which it was represented I had injured 
my neighbour. I cried to the Lord to make it plain if it 
were so, for He knew it would be the very joy of my 
heart to make amends. Yet I had reason to think it was 
a snare of Satan, because when my soul was most drawn 
out in prayer, it came as a fiery dart, that I must first 
inquire into, and set that matter right, before I could 
expect a blessing,— though it was not possible at that 
time to do any thing. And so it proved. But it seemed 
whenever the accusation came, immediately some word 
of the Lord, or some plain answer, presented itself to 
my mind. During this trial, which was very painful, O, 
what a view I had of my state by nature ! What depths 
of pride, folly, and all kinds of evil were apparent from 
my infancy. I cannot express what I saw and felt ; but 
I carried it all to the Lord, and every view, as it came 
before me, seemed to have the effect of driving me more 
to the bosom of my God. 

April 8. After the trial already mentioned, I have 
found a stronger faith, and more firm reliance on the Lord 
Jesus ; and one day, reading that passage in Job xxii. 
which has so often been applied with power to my heart, 
I felt it more than ever so ; and looking to some of the 
marginal references in the great Bible, a sweet light 
shone into my soul. Meditating on that verse, " Then 
shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift 
up thy face unto God," — I turned to the references, (Job 
xi. 15.) " For then shalt thou lift up thy face without 
spot ; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear ; 
because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as 
waters that pass away. And thine age shall be clearer 
than the noon-day. Thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt 
be as the morning ; and thou shalt be secure, because 
there is hope. Yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou 
shalt take thy rest in safety. Also thou shalt lie down, 

29 



338 THE LIFE OF [PART vii. 

and none shall make thee afraid. Yea, many shall m;\ e 
suit unto thee." In how many particulars is this already 
accomplished ! But that word, ' ; Thine age shall be 
clearer than noon-day," in the margin, shall arise above 
the noon, was powerfully applied ; which gave me to dis- 
cern a prospect, that my old age shall be favoured with 
a far closer communion than my noon was. O my Lord, 
I see the dawn, but 1 wait for the Sun of Righteousness 
fully to arise on my soul. 

April 18. Mrs. Walter's death has been much blest 
to me. Had I such sufferings to go through, O my God ! 
I could not bring glory to thy cause by patience as she 
did, unless thou gavest me a fuller change. From the 
first of her coming to Madely, I observed in her an earnest 
upright desire of living to God. As soon as she knew of 
our private meetings, she inquired into the nature of 
them, and begged to be admitted as a member ; ever 
showing by her whole carriage, that the language of her 
heart was, 

" Numbei'd with them may I be 
Here, and in eternity." 

^he had experienced the pardoning love of God before 

she came into Shropshire in a very clear manner, and 

often felt a wish her lot might be cast among some people 

who walked closer with God than any she had yet seen. 

And when her husband became curate of this parish, 

she felt a strong impression that her prayer was about to 

be answered. She loved her children tenderly, and was 

exemplary in her care both of them and of her house 

hold. She had many conflicts with the evil of her heart, 

yet often telling me what sweet returns she felt in private 

prayer : in the practice of which duty she was truly 

vigilant. She longed for the day when she should find 

those words verified in her soul, 

" No anger may'st thon erer find, 
No pride in my unruffl'd mind, 
But love, and heaven-born peace be there." 



PART VII.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 339 

For some weeks when near the hour of nature's sorrow, 
she was most sweetly carried on, often declaring she could 
feel no fear, for the Lord poured in his precious promises, 
and so filled her with his consolations as to keep her mind 
in perfect peace ; assured from his own mouth, He 
■would make all her bed in her sickness. 

On Saturday, March the 4th, she was seized with a 
violent shivering. Then the enemy came in as a floods 
with that thought, That she must die and leave her dear 
children. This conflict was severe ; but she was enabled, 
as a true daughter of Abraham, to overcome From this 
season her will appeared to be entirely lost in that of 
God. The next day she was delivered of a child, which 
died the same night ; and soon after she proved to be in 
a strong fever. Her sufferings were great and long, as 
•he lived to the twenty -first day after her seizure. But 
she was a pattern of patience and thankfulness. What 
adds to both her and our trial was, the inflammation lay 
so on her lungs, that we could scarce understand any 
thing she said. But in this trial also she showed no impa- 
tience ; and when a blister was brought for her back, 
(by which she had formerly suffered much,) she looked 
on it some moments, and said, My dear Saviour gave his 
back to the srniters, and so will I. She constantly declared 
the Lord was with her ; and one day, when my Sally 
reminded her of that promise, That " the Lord would 
make all her bed in her sickness," she answered, " He 
doth ! he doth !" On the Tuesday she told me with tears 
of love and praise, how very sweet those words had 
been to her, 

" All thine afflictions my glory shall raise, 

And the deeper thy sorrows, the louder thy praise .'" 

Twice she had a sweet view of the invisible world, and 
{he attendance of many of the heavenly hosts. Of this 
she would no doubt have told us much, but we could 
understand but little of her speech. One time as she 
was saying, " Hard work, hard work, 1 ' Mrs. Purton (who 
was almost constantly with her) said. " What is hard, 



^4U THE LIFE OF [PART Vll. 

work ?'» She replied, " To leave the dear children. 
But the Lord says, Leave thy children to me, I will preserve 
them!" Inquiring one day how she found her mind, her 
answer was, " I have no will ; it seems all lost in God. 
If he were to give me my choice, I do not know whether 
to choose life or death. But if the Lord should raise 
me, I am determined to live more to God than ever, and 
above all, to be more faithful in private prayer." The 
last night Mrs. Yate said, Is your mind as calm as ever ? 
she replied, " Quite so." And is Jesus as preciously- 
present as he hath been all along ? Her answer was, 
"More so than ever." On Friday, March 24, 1797, 
she appeared to be just going about eleven o'clock ; 
breathing very hard, as she had done some hours. We 
went to prayer, and found the Lord very present : after 
which, as I was looking on her, I repeated., 

" A convoy attends — 
A ministering host of invisible friends ! 

Ready wing'd for the flight, 

To the regions of light, 
The horses are come, 
The chariot of Israel to carry thee home ! n 

And in a few moments her happy spirit left this vale of 
tears, to mingle with the blaze of day ! She was in her 
thirty-third year. Her disorder was such as called for a 
v ery uncommon degree of attention and care. And O, 
how did we see the faithfulness of God ! Such friends 
were raised, and such helps given in the hour of need, 
as made us say in truth, He counts our every hair I My 
Sally was enabled to be a great comfort to her, and oft 
did she express it. One day, looking earnestly on me, 
she said, " I have a deal to tell you, but I cannot speak 
it." When w T e meet above, she will perhaps tell me of 
some glorious views, and divine consolations, where- 
with she was favoured, though she could not utter them? 
here. 

June 3. My faith seems increasing. I have clearer 
views of the fulness of the Saviour, and of the unbounded 



P*RT VII.] MRS * FLETCHER. 341 

privilege of believing. Many have observed, " You have 
what you believe for, and some have made a bad use of 
that privilege, not understanding what it is truly to be- 
lieve." But it is still a great truth, " Whatsoever ye 
ask in prayer, believing, you receive. God speaks 
of the things that are not, as though they were." So 
does faith. It sees the blessing of sanctification, and 
takes hold of the promise, and cries, Through Christ it is 
mine ! I am not in full possession ; yet, like a man that 
has an estate left him, he claims it as his own ; and 
though opposed, struggles to get into the possession, and 
does not quit his claim, though often repulsed by him 
who unlawfully pretends to the right. The believing soul 
says, It is the will of God that I should feel evil no more 
— that is, I should no more let it in, however tempted. 
It is his will I should always conquer. My Lord tells 
me in his word, " This is the victory by which we over- 
come, even our faith." 1 must therefore use my weak 
faith, that it may grow stronger, which it certainly does by 
use. I must hold fast that strong rock. First, ' 5 Jesus hath 
home all my sins in his own body on the tree ;" there- 
fore they are atoned for, and the atonement is mine by 
believing. Secondly, " Christ is made unto me of the 
Father, sanctification." He hath by his one offering 
perfected the whole work needful for the purification of 
the heart, and this is mine also by believing. He hath 
received the Holy Spirit to pour it out on his church — 
therefore it is mine, as far as I can believe, and so unite 
my soul by faith to God. Abiding in him, I am so far 
sanctified ; and by the exercise of this hope, the soul is 
said (by St. John) to purify itself, even as God is pure. 
Not in degree, but in becoming of one nature. The 
light of the candle is fire, as really as the sun. So it 
may be said, that little flame is as the sun : both are of 
one nature. The promise of the baptism of the Spirit is to 
me. I claim it. Yea, and my dear Lord hath told me, 
•' Thou shalt walk with me in white. I will thoroughly 



342 THE LIFE OP [PART VII. 

purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." I 
believe it is his will to do it this moment, but the way 
he hath appointed is faith ; tbat is the appointed chan- 
nel. " By grace are ye saved through faith." Now as 
far as faith can lay hold, I have it, and no farther. This 
is " the secret of the Lord, which is with those that 
fear him." They turn to Jesus, and find all in him. It 
is impossible to stand one moment in any state, but by 
union with the Saviour— as the Lord says by Isaiah, 
" Without me ye shall bow down among the prisoners.' 5 
And the Saviour, " Without me ye can do nothing" 

As I was at prayer this morning my spirit was dissi- 
pated, and could not get near to the Lord.* While I 
waited before him, I felt those words applied, " To be 
spiritually-minded is life and peace." I discerned such 
a light in the words as I never did before. One of my 
greatest conflicts has been with idle thoughts about doing 
that good which is not in my power. I remember an 
observation greatly blest to me on this head, by a good 
man now in eternity : — " Thoughts are of two kinds — • 
either the reptile, or the winged kind. Either they 
crawl on earth, as the reptile, or rise to heaven as on 
wings." This idea has been often blest to me. But 
this morning I had such a clear view into the blessing of 
keeping the mind occupied on spiritual things as encou- 
raged me much. I now feel the power of it ; to be spi< 
ritually-minded is life and peace. 

November 6. Blessed be the Lord, I feel him at 
work in my soul. He hath brought me into a narrow 
path ; and I find his faithful Spirit reproves me many 
times a day. O the need I feel of watchfulness ! I have 
prayed many times for a tender conscience, quick as the 
apple of an eye, and in a measure I feel it so. But I 
want so to put on the Lord Jesus, that my God — " Maj 
look and love his image there." I feel a sweet love tOj 

* How little the mest edifying reasonings avail when faith is Rot ifl 
exercise. JS<£ 



P\RTVII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 343 

and rest in, the will of God, even in those things which 
come nearest to my heart. But there is a close com- 
munion—an intercourse, which I have not, Lord, take 
away whatever stands between ! 

An observation of a spiritual writer was last night very 
profitable to me. He says, " The soul who would come 
ro the Lord, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, must 
begin by believing in Christ as Mediator. But he 
must force himself to that which is good, however hU 
heart may be set against it. He should force himself to 
take insults and humiliations for the Lord's sake as with 
joy ; and to exert a liberty in prayer, speaking to the 
Lord as if he had it. Above all, let him force himself to 
an assurance of the favour of God :* and shortly the Spirit 
of God will come upon him, and enable him to do all those 
things freely, from a pure nature within, which now he 
does by force. But never let him quit his hope, for then 
sin gains ground. But while a man retains his hope in 
God, sin dies away." I felt a sweet power all the time of 
my reading ; and that word, That we should " force our- 
selves to assurance in God's love, was life to my soul. It 
is always a blessing to me when 1 resist discouragements 
to faith. 

December 19. This is the day set apart for a national 
thanksgiving, on account of the victory gained at sea over 
our enemies. Blessed be the Lord, he hath hitherto pre- 
served us. But clouds yet hang over our heads. Lord, 
teach our senators wisdom ! Bless our good king, and 
guide him in every thing, that he may take such 
measures as shall tend to unite the hearts of his sub- 
jects ! 

We have had several deaths lately round about us. 
Some of them our own people. That blessed woman, 
Mary Barnard, is one. She died very happy, declaring 
to the last, that the covenant was signed and sealed with 
her Lord, and she was his by a marriage bond. She set 

* That is, Hp should resolutely believe, that the general declarations o"r" 
tood will, made by the Lord to the human race, belong to him. Ed.^ 



314 THE LIFE OF [PART vn. 

to her seal, that " the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed 
her from all sin." She had known the pure love of God 
many years. Another was our neighbour W. Weston, 
who endured a long and heavy affliction with much 
patience. Sally often visited him, it being too far for 
me. The night before he died, she was with him ; on 
her return she gave me the following account. " My 
soul did praise the Lord to hear him declare the love of 
Jesus, — Saying — O he is precious to my soul ! On my 
asking him, Hath the Lord often visited you since I was 
with you last? He answered, Yes, many, many times. 
God hath heard prayer for me indeed, and now I long to 
die. We seemed to enjoy a little heaven together, while 
conversing of many of our dear friends now in glory, 
ready to welcome him there. I reminded him of the ob- 
servation which my dear master made in one of his letters 
from abroad, — That perhaps he might (if he should not 
live to return to England,) be permitted to accompany the 
ministering angels, who should be sent to convey the 
spirits of his dear parishioners into glory ! He seemed 
to delight in the thought! I observed, You are going 
now, and 1 trust, by the grace of God, I shall be enabled 
to fight my passage through, and then shall we meet on 
Sion's happy shore, there to praise our dear Lord to- 
gether. Smiling he answered, ' We shall, we shall.' I 
read those two hymns, — ' Come let us join our friends 
above, who have obtain'd the prize.' And, ' How hap- 
py every child of grace, who knows his sins forgiven. 
After conversing some time, I repeated those lines, 

1 For you is prepared the angelic guard, 

A convoy attends — 
A ministering host of invisible friends ! 

Ready wing'd for their flight 

To the regions of light, 
The horses are come, 
The chariot of Israel to carry you home.' 

He stretched out both his arms, looking upwards, as witl: 
eager desire, and cried out — O, 1 am longing for that con- 
voy to come forme ! I took my leave of him. saving, I shall 



PART VII.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 345 

see you no more here ; but it will not be long before we 
meet above. And, 1 pray the Lord may be with you in 
the dark valley, and sweetly support you with his pre- 
sence. He caught hold of my hand, and said Fare- 
well ! God bless you for ever, and dear Mrs. I letcner 
Tell her, ' I thank her for all her kindness to me ; but 
above all, for the prayers she hath offered for me. They 
have done me much good, more good than my own. May 
God bless her, and bless you both for ever !' Some others 
also the Lord hath taken to his bosom, and among them, 
one out of my own little household.— Poor dear Martha 
Clark, who had lived with me eight years, being ill, left me 
last August, to try if her native air would restore her. 
One letter I received from her. In it, she said, her mind 
was in peace, stayed on the Lord. Not long after she 
dreamed she had returned, and that on opening our back 
door, she saw the Lord Jesus all in white ! who told her 
he had brought the chariot for her. In the morning she 
said to her brother, she should die soon, for the chariot 
of Israel was come for her. And so she did on October 
the sixteenth, I believe suddenly. She often repeated 
that verse of the hymn, " For you is prepared the 
angelic guard, &c." And frequently would be say- 
ing, " When will the chariot come for me ?"' How 
solemn is the thought ! — My family is partly' in para- 
dise and partly on earth. On earth I have none but 
my dear child Sally ; but above I have many. Bless- 
ed be God for that word, — " We shall be gathered to 
our people. Martha Clark was one who so walked, as 
truly to "adorn the Gospel." While in my house, I do 
not know there w-<s ever one thing I wished her to 
put away, or to do. but she immediately complied there- 
with. In nothing was she worldly-minded, but often was 
ready to refuse any little addition to her wages, when I 
saw it right to give it to her. She was in many respects; 
truly a pattern of sobriety of mind, and of a quiet spirit. 

January 4, 1798. At the watch-night, held the last 
evening of the year, I Wci« sensible of a deepening of the 



346 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

conviction which I had for some days felt, of the littleness 
of my grace. In this spirit I began this new year. I do 
certainly feel God hath done me good in the last ; hut I 
see as I never did, the need of a far deeper work, a faith 
at all times lively and vigorous. I have not such a per- 
fect conquest over my thoughts as 1 must have to cause a 
continual sense of the Almighty. I am not 'always faithful 
in resisting, if the thought does not appear to be evil. 
Since the first day of this year, I have found more power 
to watch ; Lord, stand by me ! Some observing to me, 
they could not find as much profit from my words and 
prayers, as they did from Sally's, and wondering at it ;* — 
I thought, it is no wonder : for I have not such a de- 
gree of the Spirit as she has. But I will bless thee, O 
Lord, that I am permitted to make her way ; and will 
with pleasure do more of the little things of the house, 
that she may have more leisure to carry thy truth about 
among souls. She is a faithful follower of the Lamb, and 
though she has been my orphan to bring up, I now desire 
to tread in her steps. 

September 12. Fifty-nine years this day I have seen 
the light of this world ; but never did I see eternal 
things more important than at this hour. 1 am led to live 
one moment at a time, offering up my whole self to the 
will of God, to be purified by his divine influence ; — to 
be just what he would have me to be. Lord, get thyself 
<dory on my soul. I had some humbling thoughts con- 
cerning my dear husband. — How much more comfort I 
might have yielded him, oft presses hard on my mind. 
" O, I have much forgiven, let me love much !" 

Some years ago 1 was much struck with that observa- 
tion of Mr. Bridges,— "Where God designs to confer a 
oreat blessing, he frequently puts a sentence of death 
on the means that seem to lead thereto ; as in the case 
of Abraham and Sarah." I am sure it has been so with 

* They are not to be commended who spoke thus ; nor was Mrs. Flet- 
cher's consequent resolution, though admirable, wholly without danger to 
the young woman. Rd, 



PART VII.] MRS * FLETCHER. 347 

me in various instances. At twenty-four, I had a plenti- 
ful fortune, but all seemed lost. Yet, God said in my 
heart, " Thou shalt lend, and not borrow." I was.. 
however, at that time, borrowing of many, my own money 
beins: in estates. I feared I should not at last pay all, 
therefore, for fear of deception, I spoke freely to several 
of my losses, and especially to those whose money I had 
on interest. Many said, " Depend upon it, she is not 
worth ten pounds, for every one makes the best they 
can of their affairs." — Such a sentence of death seemed 
to come over all my worldly affairs ! And yet, when 
God's time came, how did all turn about ! Now it may 
be asked, Why does God take this way ? Mr. Bridges 
wives a sweet answer, " God gives his blessings in that 
manner which shall most show that " He is God." Now 
had my fortune remained unlessened, as it came from 
my parents, I should not have so clearly seen the hand 
of God. But, like Joseph, we must sometimes be sold 
into Egypt, in order to have our promises fulfilled, — of 
becoming " the sheaf lifted up." Of late I have feared 
lest I should look to my plenty more than I ought, and 
not live by faith. Perhaps to prevent that, the Lord 
hath taken this thirty pounds in France, and fifty pounds 
per annum, in Switzerland ;* and yet I feel no lack. 

November 15. Last Monday, the 12th, was a solemn 
day to me. That day seventeen years, (and on a Mon- 
day,) my dear husband and I were made one before men. 
We were before made one in the Lord. O that my 
spirit could more partake of what he feels in glory ! I 
have no doubt that an eternal growth belongs to happy 
spirits ; and sometimes I think he has so long got the 
start of me, and was so much before me even here, that 
I fear I shall not be in one tribe with him above — Well, 
I feel the will and order of God is right, let my mansion 
be where it will. If Jesus is glorified, I know I shall 



delight in that. 



* Lost bv the invasion of the French. Ed. 



348 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

November 21. What an awful time do we live in 1 
This Irish rebellion has occasioned the death of thousands. 
To what distress also are numbers reduced, stripped of 
all they have, their houses burnt, and themselves forced 
to flee for their lives ! But many of our people have been 
remarkably preserved. I have not yet heard of one of 
them who have not escaped, though often as by miracle ! 
When I look on these things, 1 think, How different is 
my situation ! am I lost in wonder, love, and praise ! 
O my God, here I sit under my own vine and fig-tree, 
filled with every good thing ! Plenty of money for all I 
want, and some to spare. I say, when 1 look at these 
things, I am astonished at the tender mercy of God ! and 
encouraged to believe, that He who thus graciously deals 
with my poor dying body, will answer every prayer for 
my soul. Last night I seemed, almost the whole of it, to 
hear ; and repeat with sweet power, these words, 

" Still, O my soul, prolong 
The never-ceasing song. 
Christ, my hope, my joy, my theme ; 
His be all my happy days ! 
Bow my every power to him, 
Every thought be spent in praise !" 

When I awoke I could not say it, — I could not even 
begin ! But no sooner did I drop asleep again, than it 
flowed as it were out of my heart and lips ! 

January 15, 1799. I have found the beginning of this 
year a very solemn season. O that I may feel in the 
course of it, what I have never before felt! On Christ- 
mas eve, the Scriptures which I read in the meeting were 
the first and second chapters of Luke ; — and it seemed 
to many of us, as if we were with Zacharias in the tem- 
ple, with Mary when the angel Gabriel came to her, with 
the shepherds in the field, and, above all, with the little 
company in the stable in Bethlehem, hearing the shep- 
herds relate their vision, and Joseph and Mary confirm- 
ing their faith, by a relation of all the wonderful things 
thev had seen and heard ! Our hearts esulted also with 



PART VII.] MRS - FLETCHER. 349 

Simeon and Anna in the temple ;* and my soul was led 
to cry aloud, that all who waited for salvation in Madely 
should behold my Saviour! 

I was able to go out on Christmas day, but I was ill the 
rest of the week. On the first day of this year, in the 
evening, we had a full meeting, and the Lord was with 
us. We then considered a few questions which had 
been brought to my mind for that purpose. First, Has 
this last year been a year of prayer ? Have my prayers 
been serious, fervent, and recollected ? Or — have I 
drawn near to God with my lips, while my heart was far 
from him ? Secondly, Have I watched my thoughts, and 
been much in holy ejaculations ? Thirdly, Have I been 
thankful for mercies received, and attentive to observe 
deliverances and answers to prayer ? remembering that 
word, " He that offereth me praise, he honoureth me." 
Fourthly, Do I feel a deep sense of sin ? Do I loathe my 
sinful self, and cry often, Lord, " cleanse me from my 
secret faults ?" Fifthly, Am I deeply conscious that the 
root of all sin is in having lost God, and found self in his 
place ? And do I continually see holiness to consist in 
the being sunk into my own nothingness, that God alone- 
may be exalted in my soul ? Sixthly, Does my faith 
increase ? Do I come more freely to a crucified Saviour, 
seeking all my salvation in and through him alone ? 
Seventhly, Do I keep hold of every promise given me, 
a- I would of a purse of gold, knowing it will be good 
another day ? Do I so look for the fulfilling of those 

* A genuine instance of true failh, in ordinary life and duty. Faith, 
says St. Paul, is the evidence of things not seen. That is, — of die unseen 
things which God hath revealed, and of which the Holy Scriptures are the 
record. These things, (events, discoveries, declarations, promises, threat- 
enings,) are either past, future, or spiritual, and therefore not the objects 
of sight. This evidence, (Exty^ot) gives to these unseen things of God, 
a present subsistence. Hence this faith is said to be mighty through God, 
to work by love, to purify the heart, and to overcome the world. As this 
evidence is more or less clear and constant, so is the victory, and so is the 
consequent holiness,— the righteousness, peace, and joy. Lord, increase 
our faith ! Ed. 



330 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

given me long since, pleading that prayer, " Lord, ac- 
complish the word on which thou hast made me to 
hope." 

As to my outward walk. Have I watched over my 
tongue ? David says in Psalm the 39th, " I will take 
heed to my ways, that I offend not with my tongue. I 
will keep my mouth as with a bridle, while the wicked 
are in my sight." You who work among the ungodly, 
do you do so ? Those words of St. James are very 
important, — " My brethren, be ye swift to hear, and slow 
to speak." And in the third chapter, he calls the tongue 
" a world of iniquity, set on fire of hell, and setting on 
fire the whole course of nature. Secondly, Have I 
watched over my appetites ? Has my table been that of 
a Christian, or that of a beast ? A beast only seeks to 
feed ; but a Christian should make his table an act of 
devotion, " Whether ye eat or drink," says St. Paul, 
" or whatsoever ye do, do all in the name, and to the 
glory of God." Now this may be done in three ways. 
First, Some little act of self-denial should accompany 
each meal, as a check to intemperance. - Ask yourself 
after each meal, — In what have I denied myself this 
time ? Secondly, Your table should be a time of godly 
conversation, if with others : — of meditation, if alone. 
Thirdly, These blessings should raise your heart to 
thankful gladness, and increase your faith in that Provi- 
dence, who by thus providing for your body, gives you 
a proof how much more he will provide for your im- 
mortal soul. To help you thus to spiritualize your 
meals, use much attention and fervour in asking a bless- 
ing, and returning thanks. 

With regard to my neighbour. Do I strive to be 
faithful and diligent in ray station ? Obedient to superiors ? 
careful of, and tender to, my inferiors ? Secondly, Do I 
pray and strive to love my neighbour as myself? Do I 
forgive as I hope to be forgiven ? Do I do all I can for 
the souh and bodies of those about me ? If I hear of 
the death e-f any neighbour, do I ask myself, Have I 



FART VII.] MRS * FLETCHER. 351 

over had an opportunity of warning that soul which I 
have neglected ? Will that soul have a just accusation 
against me at the last day ? Again, Let us cast a look on 
those who are, from among ourselves in this last year, 
laid up in the garner of God. Have we honoured and 
served these saints of God ? What a blessed opportunity 
have we in this of serving the Lord Jesus ! For if he 
takes as to himself all we do for his little ones at any 
time, how much more in their sickness and death ? " For 
right dear in the sight of the Lord is the death of his 
taiuts." I never hear of the death of a child of God, 
but I ask myself that question,— Have I done all I could 
lor that person in every way ? Jesus saith, " Make to 
yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, 
that when you fail on earth, they may receive you into 
everlasting habitations." How many do you think are 
thus waiting to receive you above ? Let us this night 
awake to diligence. Let us be more earnest in seeking, 
and we shall be more enriched in finding. Good Mr. 
Frazer* observes, " Ever since I can remember, pro- 
portionable to my diligence in seeking was my finding ; 
nor made I ever any extra aim at God, but I got some- 
thing extra. Also, says he, I learn that a Christian's 
assurance, or faith, though it do not at first flow from 
holiness, yet it is, in its progress, ever in proportion to 
his holy walk with God. 5 ' This is a great truth, for 
" the mystery of the faith" must be kept "in a pure 
conscience." 

February 7. How many have been called away lately ! 
Three precious souls, three nights running, have I seen 
brought to the church-yard ! The first was Brother 
Brook, one of my dear Mr. Fletcher's first children. 
He has been a steady walker, but not clearly awakened 
to the work of sanctification till a few years ago. He 
dreamed that he heard a voice say to him, — John, are 
you ready to die ? He could not remember what he 
answered, but the purport was, that he hoped so. Next 

* A very pious minister of the Church of Scotland. Ed. 



•j52 the life of [part vn. 

day he was rather uneasy, and wished to have the dream 
again, that he might answer better. Sometime after he 
thought in his sleep, he heard the voice again. Then 
he said, Lord, am I ready ? On which such a discovery 
of the evil of his nature was laid open to him, that he 
"':ried out, Ah ! Lord, I have all to do ! I have to begin ! 
From that time, he felt a strong desire to be a new 
creature in the full sense of the word ; and began to 
strive " to take the kingdom by force." But still he did 
not see clearly the way of faith. One night he dreamed 
my dear husband came to him, and pointing to a wall, 
:aid, John, you must get up above the top of that wall. 
He replied, Sir, I cannot, it is impossible. Mr. Fletcher 
answered, Yes, John, you must, or you will perish. He 
immediately lifted up his heart to the Lord, and began 
gently to rise, till he was even with the top of the wall, 
-—on which he laid his hand to lean, — when instantly he 
dropped down to the bottom, and awoke. This much 
discouraged him. But a second time he dreamed the*. 
same dream, and leaned as before, when he again dropped 
down. He had many thoughts about these dreams, what 
Ihey could mean. After some time he again dreamed 
that Mr. Fletcher came to him, and as before* bid him 
rise above that wall, adding, — The reason, John, why 
jmjU fell the other times, was because you leaned on the 
wall. If you but touch it, you spoil all. Then he again 
lifted up his heart in faith as before, and gently rising till 
he was above the wall, he found himself in a most beau- 
tiful place, and his soul in a profound peace. From this 
dream he saw it was by "looking unto Jesus," that he 
was to " enter that rest which remains for the people of 
God." During a very long and painful illness, he has 
been kept in a sweet calm peace. In the beginning he 
was much tempted, but his confidence remained firm. 
In the latter end it was much increased. He said, a few 
minutes before his death, to a neighbour, " O, Tommy, 
this calls for much faith and patience ;" but ndded. That 



PART VII. MRS * FLETCHER. 353 

his confidence was unshaken. He then cried, " Come, 
Lord Jesus !" and entered his everlasting rest. 

The next night poor Sister Smith was buried. She 
appeared to me more than commonly stirred up the last 
two or three times I met her in class. In her illness, 
which lasted a month, she was continually crying out for 
acleanheart; lamenting the unbelief she felt, which, said 
she, is as a wall. O that this wall of unbelief were re- 
moved, that I might have a clear evidence ! O that the 
heart of stone were taken away ! One night, about a week 
before she died, she called hastily to her son, telling him, 
the Lord had taken away the heart of stone, and filled her 
mouth with praise. She continued in peace, though in 
much pain, till her spirit returned to God. — The follow- 
ing night a man was buried, who had been a sufferer for 
some years, but in that time brought home to God. 

February 14. My mind is sorrowful. It seems as if 
the Lord was about to take my Sally from me. She grows 
worse and worse ; her legs swell much, her strength fails, 
and all means used appear unsuccessful. I have been so 
supported, as I could not have expected ; not with great 
joy, but a determined resignation, — a clinging to the will 
of God, be the event what it may. She has been as the 
tenderest of daughters to me ; a spiritual friend both to 
soul and body. A most useful housekeeper, and the best 
of nurses. In short, the staff of my old age. If I lose 
her, I shall be stripped of all that makes my life comforta- 
ble. We keep a kind of inn for the Lord's people ; and 
i am so infirm I cannot supply her place in care and ma- 
nagement. In the work of God she is also admirably 
iseful, and together we get through a good deal. But 
left alone, what a poor creature shall I be, to go through 
all these fatigues ? But I will encourage myself in the 
Lord. We shall not be parted. She goes a little before, 
and I shall follow after. 

March 9. I have still a season of trial, but not with= 
/»ut Profit, My dear Sally is yet ill, apparently going into 

30 * 



354 THE LIFE OP [PART VII. 

a consumption. I must now, as Abraham, lay the whole 
of my earthly comforts on the altar ! But I cling to the 
will of God. Christ left all for me. O my Lord, enable 
me to glorify thee in the fire I This morning I was blest 
in those words, " Casting all your care on him, for He 
carethfor you." 

March 1 9. This was our quarter day. I found in the 
morning a particular faith, in devoting myself to the Lord, 
that his whole will might be accomplished in me, and by 
me, that day ; and I saw the immediate guidance of his 
hand in each particular. I felt thankful, that our appli- 
cation to Mr. Young had apparently been blest, and my 
dear friend was better, and enabled to assist me through 
the hurry of the day. We went to bed in peace, though 
fatigued. But in the night she spit blood again, This 
'circumstance seems to take away, humanly speaking, all 
hope of her recovery. The discharge continued, though 
lessening, all the next day and night. Blessed be God I 
felt power to go through all that I was called to in the 
Lord's work, and to cling fast to his will by resignation. 

March 25, Sally is very poorly. The bleeding con- 
tinues, though the discharge is small. Yesterday morn- 
ii;x, Easter Sunday, I felt power to throw myself on the 
Lord, and was helped through the duties of the day. I 
asked her how she felt her mind when she began to spit 
the blood ? She replied, she felt no fear of death, but a 
tirm confidence that the Lord would finish his work if he 
look her directly. At the same time she felt tenderly 
'or me. She added, " On Thursday, being in great pain, 
1 dropped into a dose, and thought I heard the voice of 
my dear master, saying, as if he stood by me, ' The suf- 
ferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory which shall be revealed,' " It was a re- 
freshment to me to have, as it were, a message from hea- 
ven in this time of trouble. As I sat in my pew at church, 
I thought, I must now go to the table alone. Once I had 
my -dear husband there, and my child at my side. Now, 
i-i Naomi. I must say. I vent out full, but return empty. 



PART VII.] M . RS * FLETCHER. 355 

As I knelt at the table, it seemed as if her spirit was one 
with mine. On my return to the pew, as I was pleading 
in prayer that the Lord would order all,— it came to me, 

" Leave to his Sov'reign sway 
To choose and to command ; 
Soshalt thou wond'ring own his war, 
How wise, how good his hand." 

I said, Lord, look upon us! It was answered, The hairs, 
of your head are all numbered. I then said, My dear Sa- 
viour, our concerns are regarded in the court above ; I 
freely leave them there ! It came with power, And the 
care of them is with the Most High. That so melted my 
heart, I could not help bursting into tears. But they were 
tears of gratitude. The Lord did not seem to tell me 
what he would do with me .; but patience must have its 
perfect work. 

Biay 8th. Many mercies and many trials have I passed 
through since I wrote last. My dear Sally is yet very 
poorly, and I feel myself called to stand on my watch- 
lower, that I may gain all the good designed me in this 
trial. I desire to be in the posture of Abraham when he 
was going to Mount Moriah. What will be the end I know 
not, but it has been a time of much pain. 

May 30. The Lord hath in great mercy heard prayer 
■ u many respects of late. 1 know not where to begin to 
recount his goodness. My dear Sally is much better, and 
i-eems to gather strength beyond expectation. On Sun- 
day night last I was led to make a fresh dedication of my 
all to God ; and he showed me I was to confide alone in 
Him. I fear much for my dear friend, but I am not called 
to hinder her in any thing, but commit all to the Lord, 
for I have given up all into his hand. 

June 28. Blessed be God, I do feel an increase of 
union, and a recollected posture of mind. Reading that 
line to-day in one of Mr. Wesley's Letters, if Entire re- 
signation implies entire love. Give him your will 9 
and you give him your heart." I felt a spring of sati^^ 
taction arise in my mind. I am sure I do feel an ift- 



356 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

creasing resignation, and that not in theory, but in prac- 
tice. My most near and tender feelings have been touch- 
ed of late. I live under those trials at this time, not 
only in the continued illness of my dear Sally, who still 
seems consumptive, but other circumstances besides. I 
can feelingly say, " The Lord liveth, and blessed be my 
Rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation." There 
appears to be one design in all the Lord's dispensations 
towards us, viz. the bringing us to lose our wills perfectly 
in His adorable will ;— and I find nothing so helpful as to 
be quite still in his hand. Committing all to the Lord, 
however difficult things may appear. I am to stand still, 
and the Lord makes a way through in his own time, and 
often the trial is only a shadow. Like Abraham we all 
are called to offer our Isaac, and then the cross is remo- 
ved. We have had peculiar expenses of late, and my 
oracious Father hath provided for that. A few days since 
I received a letter from my eldest brother's wife, in which 
she sent me a present of twenty pounds. Lord, didst 
thou not tell me, / will bless them that bless thee? Let 
this kindness be so returned, O Lord, in spiritual and 
temporal blessings ! 

July 20. Lord, thou art good ! I feel thine arm does 
support me. O teach me the " way of faith more per- 
fectly !" My dear child grows worse. She coughs al- 
most continually. I feel it as a knife in my heart. She 
is my earthly all, and in the whole universe, there is but 
one thing I love more than her, that is, " The will, 
of my God." To that I do, I must, I will refer every 

thing ! 

August 6. Having been called to take a little journey 
of thirty miles, I have found it a good deal disorder my 
body, as of late years travelling always does : and with 
the continued illness of my dear friend, I have little time 
for writing, except the letters I have to answer. But, 
blessed be the Lord ! I have been carried through all 
my weekly meetings, with a peculiar sense of the pre- 
sence of God, Last Tuesday, in our intercession, we 



i'ART VII.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 



357 



laid her case again before the, Lord, with much freedom, 
and I think she has been better since. We are called 
to hang on Jesus, and cleave to his will. My dear child 
i< kept in much peace, and she prays that the trial may 
answer all that the Lord intends before it is removed. 
Lord, I add my prayers to hers, so let it be ! I shall cer- 
tainly feel her loss severely. With her I can consult 
about every circumstance. To her I can tell every 
iemptation ; and her watchful attention over each infirm- 
ity of my body is uncommon. Her skill in managing all 
the affairs of my family is very great ; she takes off all 
burdens from me, and leaves me wholly free. Her help 
in the work of God also is unspeakable. She assists me 
in memory, in speaking to the people, in judging concern- 
ing them, in reproving and exhorting; and I do nothing 
in the church affairs but with her counsel. In her own 
meetings, a few of which she still will keep up, her word 
is clothed with power ; and many, very many, are weep- 
ing through fear of her loss. I feel the Lord requires 
me to keep looking to him alone, and living only the 
present hour, with a continual Abraham-like spirit, hold- 
ing my sacrifice before the Lord, to whom my more than 
all is due. 

August 14. I have been renewing my covenant with 
the Lord this day, — to abandon all my whole cause, both 
of soul and body, into his hand ! and to offer afresh, to 
follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Fourteen years 
"of vridowhood I have this day completed. And now it 
seems as if my last, my only remaining friend and comfort,, 
was called for! And I have been pleading with the Lord, 
that I may cling to His dear will. Yesterday morning I 
had a sweet refreshing gale from Sion's top, and such 
confidence I felt in the all-sufficiency of the Saviour, 
that I could lean all my weight of care on the Lord, and 
saw his arm was under both my friend and me. It lifted 
off my care, and healed my suffering mind. This 
morning I have strove to humble myself before the Lord, 
.'icd to inquire whether I may ask the healing of my 



358 THE LIFE OF [PART Y.II. 

child ! It seemed as if I was led to stand still ;— for though 
no trial of the kind could be so near my heart, yet I feel 
my dearest concern is the glory of God. And therefore I 
can only say, Thy ■will be done! But if this cop may past 
from me ! — Lord, let silence plead my cause ! I will not 
ask any thing, but such a gracious conduct towards us, as 
will bring most glory to Thee, and for which we shall 
most praise Thee in eternity. 

August 30. This has been a day of searching into my 
heart. I see there is great need of the Lord to lay to 
his hand. 1 want a deliverance I do not yet feel. The 
Spirit of God is a spirit of illumination. That I in a low 
degree feel. I have a light which increases in reading 
the Scriptures ; and some fresh views of the amazing 
glory of redemption are given to me. Secondly. The 
Spirit of God is a spirit of " prayer, of groans unutter- 
able." A little of this I feel, but out of seven times a 
day in prayer, often I have not what I call the spirit of 
$rayzr, above three or four times. Thirdly. The 
Spirit of God is a spirit of humiliation. Surely I may say 
I have this mark ; but I do not love humiliation, at least 
till I have had time to reflect. I do not run to embrace 
it,* nor pick it up as I would a jewel. Fourthly. The 
Spirit of God is a spirit of sanctificalion, purifying the 
heart. I do feel it is working that in me. Yet I am 
not free from reptile thoughts, those which crawl on the 
earth. They do not, it is true, carry the stamp of sin 
upon them, yet they hinder prayer. Fifthly. The 
Spirit of God is the spirit of love. What shall I say to 
this ? My love to God does increase ; I can say, O God i 
my chief joy ! but I can very seldom say, O God ! my 
exceeding -oy ! My love seems faint and dim, and that to 
my neighbour keeps pace with it. I deny myself for 
their sake, — but that is nothing. The pleasure 1 feel in 

* Is not this too strong ? Ought we to run to meet that which must be 
sin to others ? We must indeed be conformed to the Son of God; and we 
should bear his reproach, not only with patience, but with joy. In a mind 
so devoted as Mrs. Fletcher's, the meaning must be good, but there ma» 
be some danger to others in this strong way of expressing it. Ed, 



PART VII.] MRS - FLETCHER - 3 ^ 

helping the distressed is greater than that which I deny 
myse/in. Indeed if I did not do so, I should know 
"the love of the Father was not in me." But I cannot 
rest till I feel a greater measure of that love which brought 
my Saviour from heaven to earth, to take on him the 
iniquity of us all. O Jesus, let that mind be in me that 
was in thee ! I ask it in thy name ! 

September 12. I am this^day threescore. My dear 
husband would have been seventy. But he has had four- 
teen years in glory. Lord, prepare me for all prepared 
for me ! O let me live my last days to thy glory as I have 
never done ! Yesterday the Lord gave me that word, 
" When thou goest through the waters, they shall not 
overflow thee." I asked if I might pray for my dearest 
comfort to be spared. That test seemed an answer ; 
« Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer 
and supplication, make your requests known unto God." 
For some days her cough has been more strong, and 
more frequent. I feel the will of God my sure defence. 
If he please he can yet raise my dear friend ; but if he 
have otherwise determined, It is the Lord. He cannot 
err : I will not choose. 

October 7. We have had the comfort to hear of the 
happy death of Miss Styche. She told me the conviction 
she got while at Mrs. Micklewright's school abode with 
her for some time. But, said she, afterward when I got 
into the world, all you had said seemed wiped away. 
Then the Lord laid his hand on me by this illness. A 
blessed illness it has been to me, for it hath brought me 
to seek him. But now I fear he will never receive nor 
forgive me ! When we told her of the great atonement 
and perfect righteousness of the Saviour, she seemed as 
if she would swallow every word. She then said, When 
Mr. Walter visits me, I often feel comforted ; but I can- 
not retain it ; and I feel my heart full of sin. At this 
time she was torn with evil tempers, unable to live, and 
afraid to die. Suffering much, and having no comfort ; 
so that nothing seemed to please or satisfy her. Yet she 



360 THE LIFE OF [l'ART Yli- 

struggled hard to obtain not only consolation, but the 
mind that was in Christ. One day as a few of us were at 
prayer with her, she received such a lift of faith as de- 
livered her from all her bonds. From that hour all about 
her were amazed at the change. She was all the lamb, 
and the dove ! The new creature shone clear indeed. 
When my Sally was saying, Shortly you will come to the 
blessed moment, when, '« Ready wing'd for the flight," 
you shall see the chariot of Israel come for you, her 
eyes sparkled with delight, and she said, " I am so happy 
as I cannot express. Sometimes I have fiery darts, but 
I look to Jesus, and he turns them away. He is always 
with me." She continued thus to the last. A few hours 
before she died, she seemed to have much of the pre- 
sence of God, repeating, with great delight, " Ready 
wing'd, ready wing'd!" She then begged her young 
sister to turn to God, saying, " You must cleave to those 
who have done me so much good. You see how I am, 
and I would not be otherwise ; I would not live for a 
thousand worlds. I have such a prospect— so clear into 
eternity. Jesus hath saved me! He hath washed me 
from my sins in his own blood. He hath put on me the 
white robe, and I see my way clear. O cleave to the 
people that have been so blest to me." Soon after she 
*aid, " Molly, Molly, look ! do not you see these sweet 
creatures ?" Her sister replied, " No, I do not." To 
which Miss Styche said, " But I do, they are come for 
me." Molly asked, What are they like ? She replied, 
*' They are glorified spirits ! they are virgins— they are 
come for me ! Yes, they are come for me !" And im- 
mediately, 

» She clapt the glad wing, and tower'd away, 
To mingle with the blaze of day !" 

She died October the 4th, in her twenty-first year. 

November 12. Many solemn thoughts, yet, such a9 
have led to God, have occupied my mind to-day. When 
I look back eighteen years, it gives me pleasure to re- 



i'ART VII.] 



MRS. FLETCHER. 3tii 



-ollect that my dear love and I agreed, that we would 
not limit our union by that word, " Till death us doth 
p.,rt " but that we would consider our covenant as eter- 
nal ' Not that we meant to tie each other from a future 
marriage ; but that our union of soul was never to be 
broken° Often when we have been speaking together 
of this, he would say, " Well, Polly, then our spiritual, 
as well as our temporal mercies, are mutual." From 
this recollection, I was led to consider that text, " He 
hath made us meet to partake of the inheritance of the 
saints in light," and felt a power to pray as I have often 
done, that I might be permitted to share in his joy, now 
inherited before the throne. At night, in the society, 
my faith was somewhat increased. 

December 23. I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. 
31y dear child grows worse ; well, I will cling to that 
rock, Thy will be done ! This shall be my momentary 
employ the remainder of my life. Not one on earth to 
whom I can converse of the past trials through which 
she hath walked with me ! Well, my Lord, thou know- 
est my solitary situation. The pains she suffers from 
that dreadful cough, and a complication of complaints, 
would constrain, I think, any besides herself to keep 
their bed. But while there is a grain of strength given 
to her, she will use it, both in the work of God, and in 
the care of our affairs. I will hang upon that word, " I 
will bring the blind by a way they know not. I will lead 
them in paths which they have not known. I will make 
darkness light before them, and crooked things straight 
These things will I do for them, and not forsake them.' 
January 20, 1800. This morning as I was laying be- 
fore the Lord the sufferings of my dear child, I thought, 
if the hairs of our head are numbered, then I am sure 
each time she has that cough, so hard, so violent, it is 
noticed by the Lord. I felt that it was ; and asked, with 
submission, that it might be removed, or that he would 
graciously show that it was sent in love. After awhile, 

31 



362 THE LIFE OF [l'ART Til, 

these words were sweetly impressed on my mind, " The 
light affliction which is but for a moment shall work out 
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 
I felt that word, far more exceeding, so that 1 answered, 
Well, my blessed Lord, I will hold to my old word, God 
shall choose our inheritance for us. Give me, O Lord, to 
find my all in thee ! Last night, in the society, those 
words were impressed on my mind, Seek first the king- 
dom of God, and all things else shall be added unto you. 

March 17. Yesterday Mary Wyke entered glory, ia 
the nineteenth year of her age. She is a remarkable 
answer to prayer. In the beginning of her illness she 
was very careless and hard ; but after much suffering, 
she was brought to know herself, and to seek the Lord. 
He was pleased to manifest his love to her in some de- 
cree, but still she had a great hankering after life ; and 
at times she was much troubled with unholy tempers, 
which she sorely lamented. A few months ago, her body 
being brought to the state of a Lazarus, she was consider- 
ing whether there was any likelihood of recovery, when 
those words were powerfully applied to her heart, " Thou 
shalt die and not live." This, she told me, she knew to 
be the voice of God ; and felt all her will for life im- 
mediately taken away. From that day a mighty change 
appeared upon her. She has had much of the presence 
of the Lord, and been kept in a sweet calm loving state, 
ripening for glory — declaring she was willing to suffer as 
long as the Lord should please, for she knew her pains 
were working out a " farther weight of glory." Some- 
times she was triumphantly happy ; at other times, she 
could only lie and groan in agony ; but even then she 
would say, if asked, " I am happy ; I have no will." A 
fortnight before her death, she dreamed, her grand- 
mother, who died here in the Lord a few years ago, 
came to her, and a person whom she did not know came 
with her. That person said, « Mary, hold faith and pa- 
tience a little longer, and you shall be with us." The 



FART VH.j 



MRS". FLETCHER. 363 



nio-ht before she died, she was very happ} r . Ten mi- 
nutes before she departed, her mother said, Are you 
happy, my dear ? She, with difficulty, answered, " Yes," 
—and soon censed breathing.— Eternity is very near! 
O. for a swifter progress in our souls ! 

March 31. This has been a day of recollection, and 
of groaning after a fuller manifestation of the Lord's 
power. It i>< a time of trial. My dear child, what does 
she suffer ! Yet how patient and passive in the hand of 
God i I "-eein left to suffer ; yet I am wonderfully sup- 
ported too. — Well, comfort is not that which I most 
desire. I feel my strongest desire is, that the nature of 
God may be more powerfully stamped on my soul. 

May 21. The Lord does not suffer my sorrowful at- 
tention to hinder his work. Last Sunday, I was at the 
Wood. Never, I think, did 1 feel more freedom. O my 
God i work for the glory of thy name on this people ! I 
feel their souls very near to me. The Lord is with us 
in trouble, and my dear Sally is kept in a calm quiet 
frame. Through all she suffers, she says, she has su; h 
a sense how safe she is in the hand of God, that Kis 
time, either for ease or death, is the best time. 

August 1. My dear friend is yet no better. Last 
night was a painful one. O that this trial may have its 
due effect on us both ! I long for full conformity to all 
■the will of God. I see every grace increases by use. 
I am called to exercise faith, and as faith gathers strength, 
I know every other grace will keep pace with it. 1 
have had much temptation since I wrote last ; but how 
can faith be in full exercise if we see all clearly ? 

September 24. Lord, thine eyes are upon us ! We 
see and feel thy help in the midst of our trials. I have, 
little time to write, my dear child being now so very 
bad, but I am led to live on that word, " Thy will be 
done." It is a day of clouds, and at times of thick dark- 
ness. All my help seems to be in clinging to the will of 
God. One sentence Miss Ritchie, (now Mrs. Mortimer) 
read in sister Johnson'? letter from Bristol, was blest io 



364 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

me. She says — " When we look at Jesus by faith, Satan 
loses his power, and, if I may so speak, his place, which 
is the reasoning faculty."* 

January 1, 1801. What have I seen and felt sinee 
last I wrote ! On December 3d, my dearest child and 
friend went triumphantly to glory ! I was helped to 
write an account of her devoted life and happy death, 
and r^ad it to the society, while her precious corpse was 
in the house. I have now scarce strength to look it 
over. How does the Lord help us in the needful hour ! 
In the ordering of her funeral, and various things which 
'ell on me alone, I have been brought through, and 
proved her dying words, '• He will put his everlasting 
arms underneath you." He doth, and I am borne up. 
But O, what a loss do I sustain ! God only knows what 
she was to me, and Himself alone can fill the aching 
void ! What adds to the weight is, I have not that com- 
munion with God I long for. I am amazed at the resig- 
nation which I feel. Yes, I do, I will adore him, for 
laking away my all from me.j I fear I hung too much 
on her. I did nothing without her counsel, and truly I 
was dearer to her than herself. To the last she felt in 

* An undue dependence on the reasoning faculty, is indeed Satan's, 
strong hold, and highest delusion. Any repulse to this temptation, he 
will suggest, must amount to a renunciation of that noble gift of God ! It 
is thus " the strong one, armed" with the pride, self-will, prejudice, and 
worldly spirit of the sinner, (which he will call his reason,) " keepeth his 
house, and his goods are in peace." In this state our Lord found the fallen 
Jewish nation; and in this state Luther (opt to mention other reformers) 
found the fallen Christian Church. Almost in this state (but with a pure 
doctrine in the established creeds, and liturgy,) did Mr. Wesley find this 
favoured kingdom. In this state also does the " Spirit of Christ" find every 
natural man, however learned or wise. But who will sink under that 
sentence of death which the Holy Spirit pronounces (John xvi. 8 — 11.) 
against all this deceivabkness of unrighteousness ? Only the man who 
submits to have faith placed on the throne usurped by the " reasoning 
faculty." IS'or can any man know "the salvation that is through faith,?' 
but the man who resolutely maintains that divine allegiance ; — who steadily 
ivalks by the same rule, and minds the same things. Ed. 

~ This was beyond the highest sensible consolation.. E.J. 



PART VII.J MRS. FLETCHER. 



OV'J 



the most tender manner for me, and often said, •' If the 
Lord saw good, how gladly would I drink this bitter cup 
instead of you ! and close your eyes instead of you clos- 
ing mine. But the will of God is all to us : in that we 
are agreed — we live in—" Thy will be done." I do not 
knoro indeed the heart of a stranger; and I do trust the 
Lord is about to make me "his own habitation through 
the indwelling spirit." Now and then, for a moment, I 
have such a display of God, as I know and feel would 
turn my gloomy night into a bright day. But it isv but 
for a moment, and then seems to shut up again. I must 
remember my dear Sally's words, " We are both waiting 
for the Lord ;" and " It is good to hope, and quietly to 
wait for the salvation of God." I begin this year as an 
hermit : ah ! that I may end it as a saint. Come, Lord 
Jesus, and fulfil all thy gracious promises to my waiting 
soul ! 

I sometimes feel her as being present with me. We 
had all things in common here, and J trust I shall par- 
take of her heavenly inheritance. Thinking of that 
one night when I was very sad, in a moment all the gloom 
went off, and such a sweetness came over my soul as 
seemed to wipe away all grief. I dropped asleep, and 
hese words sounded in my ears all night, 

" They drink the deifying stream, 
And pluck th' ambrosial fruit." 

March 11. What cause have I to bless the Lord ! How 
often have I feared, if I lost my dear friend, I should 
not be able to glorify God, that I should have no spirit 
to go through any thing. But it is not so. I never 
felt more light and liberty in speaking to the people 
than I do now ; and though very trying circumstances 
have occurred in the work of God, as well as in mv 
family affairs, yet I have been carried through all in a 
manner that amazes me. How faithful is the Lord ! 

June 5. 1 continue to feel my loss severely ; yet I 
also feel I love and adore the will of God= Yea, and * 

31.* 



366 THE LIFE OF [PART VII, 

admire it. What wisdom and love do I see in all this 
cutting dispensation ! 1 cleaved too much to that pre- 
cious gift, which was lent to me in order to raise my soul 
to God. One night 1 dreamed 1 saw her standing before 
me.— I cried out, O my dear love, are you come ? I have 
waited for this. — She expressed the tenderest regard, but 
without words, and it left a sweet sensation on my mind. 
Another time I dreamed* I was involved in great trials, 
and thought, O, if my Sally had been now with me, all 
would have been nothing. — Immediately I saw her just 
by me ! and she gave me to know, she was nearer than I 
thought. I know our friends are not really divided from 
us ; they are only become invisible. Perhaps if we saw 
the spirits of our dear companions at such seasons, we 
might be much tempted to put our trust in them. A 
veil is therefore drawn between ; — and all for our eternal 
good. But the Scripture declares, " We are come to the 
spirits of just men made perfect ;" — but this is far more 
plain to their eyes than to ours, which are as yet under 
the veil. Lord, give me to rely on thyself alone ! 

July 14. I had this morning a comfortable season 
while meeting the class. Those words of Fenelon were 
much on my mind — " I will, with John, lean on his 
breast, and feed on love, by joining my heart to his." 
Sometimes, while speaking on faith, such a sweetness 
overspreads my soul, as if I had run into the bosom of 
my Lord. I see, at those times, such an all-sufficiency 
m the Saviour, and such a vastness in that thought, " We 
have boldness and access through him," — and again, " He 
hath borne all our sins in his own body on the tree," that 
it seemed I had only to run to the Saviour every moment, 
as a child to its fond parent ! Lord, open the way oi 
faith more and more to my waiting soul ! 

* In this way of divine direction and encouragement the Lord acts as a 
Sovereign, and gives as He sees good. To this the Holy Scripture bean 
M\ testimony. Mrs. Fletcher was often thus favoured. But how merci- 
v'ully was she preserved from placing any undue dependence on these 
favours ! The Word of God was the guide to which she referred everj 
'hing, aad by which she " tried the spirits whether they were of God." Ed 



t»ART VII.] MRS - FLETCHER. 367 

August 15th. Yesterday was a solemn day to me, 
Sixteen years are passed since my eyes beheld the awful 
scene of my dear husband's entrance into glory. O, 
what have I passed through since that time ! Could I 
then have known that my precious friend would have 
been taken also, how it would have aggravated the bitter 
cup ! But blessed be God that all the future is hid in his 
will. There I find a solid rest. It is now a little more, 
than seven months since I lost her, and I have been, and 
am enabled to say, Jesus hath done all things well. I feel 
my soul more on stretch after God, and my old promises 
seem to revive afresh, as if drawing near to the time of 
accomplishment.. That promise in particular, Thou shalt 
walk with me in white. 

August 20. I awoke this morning with strong desire, 
and prayer, that every thought might this day be the 
Lord's. O, why is there any distance ! Come, my 
beloved, and take the full possession of every power ! 
My soul is grieved that I have not more ardour in speak- 
ing for God : though, blessed be his name, I have found 
him graciously with me at times in the meetings. But I 
do not catch every occasion as my dear Sally did. The 
other day a man came to sell something we wanted. 
Being engaged in writing I sent one of the family to take 
it for me. After he was gone, she told me the man had 
said, he had two children sick of the small-pox, and had 
never had it himself. I asked earnestly, — And did you 
talk to him about his soul ? She answered, No. O, what 
did I feel ! Had I gone down myself how much better 
should I have been employed ! 

Lord's-day, August 23. In the meeting this morning 
I found the Lord present ; and I had also a little oppor- 
tunity of helping his people. O what a favour ! I, who 
once expected to be left without the necessaries of life 
for myself, have now such frequent opportunities of 
helping the poor ! Lord., thou art good to me beyond 
expression 1 This evening I spent two hours in retire- 
ment, and found it the best of all the day. 'God gave m.f 



368 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

a praying spirit. — But it was also a lime of deep humilia- 
tion. Suck a crowd of words and acts, — foolish and sin- 
ful, which were spoken 01 committed forty or fifty years 
ago. pressed into my mind like so many barbed arrows, 
I see in myself, from a child, a depth of the fall beyond, 
I think, any other. But this evening, though I felt deeply 
sorrowful, and ready to lie dcwn under the feet of all, I 
found it mixed with encouraging hope. These words-- 
bore much on my mind, 

" I. shall soon obtain the grace, 
Pure in heart to tee thy face." 

Anmi.-t 28. This morning I awoke after a rcstlev-r- 
nio-ht, with a strong desire to live to God. In prayer I 
found some encouragement. In visiting some sick also I 
felt the presence of God. J. B. seemed very comfort- 
able under his affliction, and much led to look to Jesus- 
through all ; for, said he, " What a delight it is to rejoice 
in God, though in anguish and pain ! Why it is all from 
him! all from him ! that is my comfort." I see more 
and more, souls grow best in the furnace. It is our. 
proper soil while here ; to enjoy is by and by. 

October 17. Lord, perform thy word, on which thou 
hast made me to trust ! That saying of our Lord, in 
Mark xi, concerning the fig-tree, was much laid on my 
heart. " If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall say to 
this mountain, depart !" and " whatsoever things ye ask 
in prayer, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have 
them." That is, believe that it becomes yours as sure 
as ye ask ; yea, at that time the grace ye ask for is as it- 
were held out to you ; and you may say — I have asked a 
clean heart, a stayed mind, a baptism of the Spirit. Well, 
they are mine ; I shall enjoy them. They are given as 
an estate left to me : but I now want to # enter into the 
possession. My Jesus is preparing my heart for his owr* 
abode. He will enter, and with him all his fulness, to 
till up every aching void. 

August 14, 1802. 1 have not written much the begin- 
mn°- of this year, except what concerned the death ofi 



PART VII.J MRS. FLETCHER. 369 

dear Mrs. Yate.* She has long walked in the ways of 
God, and often enjoyed sweet and close communion with 
him. When very young she received a letter which 
treated on the different states of the inward and outward 
:,ourt worshippers.f She threw the letter on the table, 
and clasping her hands together, she fell on her knees, 
and cried to the Lord with a strong and vehement cry„ 
Aat she might become one of those who should xvorship 
.';/: in spirit and in truth. Her prayer was answered, 
and she became truly devoted to a crucified Saviour. 
The souls of her children lay very near her heart, and 
she spared no pnins to bring them to the knowledge of 
God. In the cause of God she was deeply engaged, and 
-q the utmost of her strength, visiting the sick, and invit- 
ing sinners to the Lord. She was led in the way of the 
cross, and being weak in body, she was much exposed to 
temptation. In her last illness, she was frequently 
buffeted by the enemy of her soul ; at other times she 
-.vas much comforted. Her most painful temptation was, 
that the Lord would forsake her in the last conflict. 
After enduring this for some time, she told me of some 
promises which had been applied to her mind ; above a)i 
that word, " There is no condemnation to them that are 
in Christ Jesus." Yet these glooms, as she called them, 
appeared dreadful to her. While Ave were conversing, 
the spirit of faith came over us both, the light dispelled 
all darkness, and in speaking and pra} r er, there was a 
power quite uncommon. She said, " I think you never 
had such a time in this house before ;" and indeed it was 
true. From that hour she expressed herself as quite in 
peace, ever after saying, " I have nothing to trouble me 
now." One day she said, When I look on my limbs, 
worn to a skeleton, it is with pleasure ; for I know 1 shall 
go to God. At another time she observed, These words 
are much with me, " Beloved, think it not strange con 

* See page 327. 
->■ Written by Mrs. Fletcher. M. Tooth, 



370 THE LIFE BF [PART Vli. 

corning the fiery trial which is to try you." I leave 
myself in His hand, and all is peace. 

On the 21st of January, I was conversing with her, 
and exhorting her to live the present moment as if she 
wa= sure to die the next. A clear light seemed ta shine 
powerfully on my mind, as 1 was speaking ; she entered 
into it. and was refreshed. A~ soon as I was gone, that 
word was strongly impressed on her heart, This is the 
way, walk ye in it. On the 27th, she observed, how 
comfortably she had walked ever since, — that life or 
death were now quite ecpial ; and that she wanted nothing 
but the will of God to be done. " I am (said she) quite 
happy, and that word, our Father, is so opened to me, as 
fdls me with delight. I have nothing to hold me here. 
No, I am ready to give all up. My children are near 
and dear to me. but I am ready to leave them at his call." 
She had close trials, such as caused the most tender feel- 
ings. She observed, " I cannot distrust the Lord, for he 
supports me through every thing. This morning, as I 
was in prayer, a wonderful sweetness came over my 
soul ; and my will was so lost in the will of God as I 
never found it before. I saw myself perfectly safe in his 
hand, and I cannot ask either for myself or my children 
nny thing but his will. My dependence on the Lord is 
entire. I would not have a choice of my own for all the 
world. He orders every thing for me, small and great.* 
No, I want nothing for soul or body but by his order. He 
is continually telling me, In blessi?i$ I zvill bless thee. O 
how sweet is that word, k There is no complaining in 
our streets !' No, no, I cannot complain, I have no 
cause. All around me is blessing, and the best of all is, 
my heart is full of love. O love, love ,' Let there he 
nothing but love in my soul." 

After a little while, she said, " I want to feel the change 
more forcibly, I want to realize heaven ; — I do not seem 
to see glory !" I replied, Jesus was perfectly holy, yet 
his soul was sorrowful unto death. Holiness is not to be 
measured by perfect joy, but by perfect resignation. It'ofi 



TART ATi] M** 8 ' FLETCHER. «V - 1 

can see Jesus, and feel no mil but his. She replied, " O 
yes, yes, I can see him, he is ever with me, I have no will 
but what is lost in God : and I am waiting the accomplishment 
of many glorious promises, which have been given me.'" 

March 7. She told me her cough had been very bad, 
and almost constant, but, said she, " With every fit of 
coughing, the Lord gave me some comfortable word. 
That word came with great power, Not a sparrow falls 
to the ground zvithout your Father.''' She added, " I have 
had a night of suffering and of comfort ; all my sins were 
brought before me, even from my infancy, and I saw in 
mys'jifsuch a depth of the fall as I cannot put into words, 
but I need not fear since Jesus saves me. He forgiveth. 
iniquity, transgression, and sin, and I felt it was so. After- 
ward that word was applied, " Eye hath not seen, nor 
car heard ; neither hath it entered the heart of man to 
conceive what God hath prepared for them that love 
him :" and O how I felt it was prepared for me! Yes. 
he hath prepared a place for v.ie, and I shall be with him. 
In the afternoon I was thinking of my husband and child- 
ren, in particular the two little ones, when I had such a 
discovery of the tender love and guardian care of the 
Lord, as took away every anxious thought. O he is all 
in all true, 1 would not take them out of his hand for the 
world. How is it, when I lie awake for hours, and cannot 
sleep, nor hardly move, I can lie so comfortable ! I feel 
such a rest in God as sweetens all." She desired me to 
return thanks to all her dear friends who had shown such 
sympathy through all her sufferings. Thus like a truly 
patient lamb she lay before the Lord from day to day, 
longing for the happy hour of admittance into glory. As 
her outward strength decayed, her love, patience, and 
entire resignation, visibly increased. 

April 12. She could scarcely speak, her throat being 
much affected as well as her lungs. She looked on me, 
snd said, " I am very ill, but happy in my soul. I have 
had a sweet night. I have no fear, no doubt ; — I am 
waiting for the Lord." Soon after she began to change 



372 THE LIFE OF [PART VII. 

for death.. She asked to be lifted up in order to tell more 
of the goodness of God, but could not form the words 
she wanted to speak. She at length said, " 1 have strong 
confidence," — and soon after, without a struggle, she en- 
tered into the joy of her Lord. 

I praise the Lord for the measure of health 1 enjoy, 
which, when I do not go beyond my strength, is quite 
comfortable. And now, my Saviour, shine upon my soul, 
and tell me how it is with that ? I think I feel my de- 
pendence more singly on Jesus, more weaned from earth, 
and more athirst for the whole mind of Christ. Indeed 
there are moments when all is clear ; but I want not to 
have a thought but such as is approved by a smile of 
Jesus, and to have a witness constant and clear that no- 
thing but love dwells in my soul. I know I do taste of* 
pure love, but I do not abide in Jesus, therefore I do not 
bri7ig forth much fruit. There is an entering into rest 
which I have of late been particularly led to ask for ; 
sometimes it seems near, and I am waiting for it in a 
clearer manner than usual. Some observations which I 
read the other day, were much blessed to me. Speak- 
ing to a mourning soul, the author says, " Make God, as 
He is in himself, the object of thy joy, without any con- 
sideration of thyself at all* Let your soul exult in that 
thought, The Lord is my strength and my song, He also is 
become my salvation. Observe, the Lord is then strong 
for and in you when you look to him alone, unmixed with 
any thing else. But on the other hand, when the eye of 
the soul is double, looking partly for a fitness in itself, 
the light is put out, as it is said of our Lord, He could 
not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. This 
looking unto Jesus, is both an emptying and a filling grace. 
It empties the soul of self, and the creature, and fills it 
with God. It is a transforming view ; the more we see 
of him, the more we shall be like him. Does he not tell 
thee, This is the victory whereby we overcome, even your 
faith. Wouldst thou have the victory first, and believe 
* See the Note in page 259, 



PART VII.] MRS. FLETCHER* 373 

afterward ? ' But I am conscious of idols ?' Then plead 
the promise, From all thine idols I will cleanse thee. This 
is reaching out to the things before. ' But 1 fear 1 am not 
willing to part with them.' Perhaps not ; but if thou 
wilt look to Jesus, and wait at his feet, and tell him of thy 
helplessness, he will so shine out on thy soul that the 
love of all other things shall drop off. What becomes of 
the stars when the sun shines ? Do they not disappear 
before the greater light 1 So shall every other love be- 
fore that mighty love he will pour into thee. But re- 
member thou art to holdfast thy confidence, which hath 
great recompense of reward ; for ye have need of patience, 
that when ye have done the will of God ye may receive the 
promise. Now this single eye, this constant act of faith, 
glorying in hope to the end, is doing the will of God, and 
thus you shall receive the promise." 

November 13. Yesterday concluded twenty-one years 
since I joined in an eternal covenant with my dear Mr. 
Fletcher. O what advantages I have had through my 
union with some of the most excpllcnt of the earth ! But 
alas, how little have 1 profited to what I might have done ! 
I have this morning been crying to the Lord to stir me up 
to more faithfulness. I am now in my 64th year, — almost 
at the end of my race, and the great work of an entire 
conformity to God is yet to be gained. I found freedom 
in prayer, so that an hour on my knees seemed to pass as 
quick as a quarter usually does, and I hope and believe I 
shall from this day keep up the intense desire. 

Sunday, November 22. Through illness I have been 
out but once this day. Itis longsince 1 have been forced 
to miss a meeting, but I find all right my Master orders. 
It has been a good Sabbath to my soul. I was truly hum- 
bled to hear how the dear people wept and prayed for 
me ! O my God, let that word be perfectly fulfilled, 
" Then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and 
shall lift up thy face unto God." As I was reading the 
xxxi. of Genesis, that word struck me, / am the God of 

32 



374 THE LIFE OP [PART VII, 

Bethel ! Twenty years had elapsed, yet, saith God, I am 
He that gave thee those sweet promises in that place. I 
am the same for ever! While meditating on this, it 
seemed as if He said to me, I am the God who told thee, 
Thou shalt walk with me in white. Ah ! my Lord , I hang on 
thee with a firm belief. Thy words are tried words, purer 
than silver. The Lord will keep His promise for ever. 

December 23. I was much struck this morning in 
reading at the time of family prayer, the account of Jacob 
wrestling with the angel. 1 felt it kindle in me a degree 
of ardour which I did not feel before, to say with him, 
I will not let thee go rinless thou bless me,- — yea, with the 
full communion of thy love. 

February 13. I have been confined near a month, and 
only able to speak in a low whisper. The disease is sup- 
posed to be a dropsy in the chest. I am sometimes in 
the night in danger of being suffocated. The night before 
last I was very bad : and as I lay waiting in peace before 
the Lord, that word was applied with unusual power, 
" Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, 
and thou shalt glorify me." Ah ! my Lord, 1 do call on 
thee for more grace, but I cannot ask life or death : 1 love 
the dear people, and feel a pain in leaving them ; yet I 
can only commit all to my adorable unerring Head. 

April 5. Last night 1 laboured much for breath, and 
could not lie down. I saw myself encompassed with 
mercy and love. As I was reflecting on the uncertainty 
of the issue of my complaint, the thought struck me, my 
Lord was at this season sold into the hands of men, who 
strove to join with devils to afflict him ; and if kind phy- 
sicians should mistake, and make me suffer, I may be sai<J 
to be given into the hands of men, — but not without the 
Lord. These words were sweet, 

'' I fain with thee would sympathize, 
And share the sufferings of my Lord !" 

As I was reflecting that I had nothing to plead, onlj 

" Jesus my salvation is, 
This shall stand, and only this,"— 



PART VII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 375 

a dart came across my mind, — What if Calvinism/be true ? 
Then you may be one he hates ! — Immediately that word 
came, " He hateth nothing that he hath made, His mercy 
is over all his works." Well, my Lord, this I plead, / 
am thine, save me! Give me to glorify thee, through the 
fire and through ■water. The tenderness of Miss Tooth, 
whom the Lord hath sent to me, is very great. 

April 11. The Lord hath permitted me to be sorely ex- 
ercised through the want of breath. The night before 
last I was forced to sit up in bed till four o'clock. Last 
night, blessed be God, the fit lasted but one hour, and 
then I rested comfortably. My one act is that of cling- 
ing to the will of God. 

June 2. Blessed be the Lord, He hath fulfilled h\* 
word. He bid me " call upon him in the day of trouble ;' 1 
and in my deliverance I do glorify Him, and acknowledge 
his dear and powerful hand. I have been for some time 
restored to my comfortable meetings, and preserved in 
tolerable health, with power to lie down in peace, and 
take quiet rest. O that this late dispensation may rouse 
my soul more abundantly to labour after a more perfect 
rest! Lord, establish me with thy fre'e Spirit ! This morn- 
ing one called who gave me the following extraordinary 
account. " On Saturday I had that word applied, ' As 
the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you, abide ye 
in my love.' But on the Sunday night while you were 
speaking on — How we ought to venture on Christ, my 
soul was greatly lifted up, my faith began to rekindle, 
and I felt extraordinary power all the way home. At 
family prayer my soul was sweetly drawn out. Just as 
we were going to bed, I opened my Testament on those 
words, ' Ask what ye will, and I will do it for you.' I 
felt the power, and thought I will not go to bed ; I will 
stay and wrestle with the Lord. I did so ; and O, 
what did I feel ! I have often had glorious times, but 
never such a time as that. Those precious words were 
applied. ' You are sealed to the day of redemption.' 
Since then, as I was hearing a sermon on the new Jeru- 



376 THE LIFE OF [PART VI I, 

salem, I had such a glorious sight as I cannot describe ! 
1 cannot tell it to you." I asked, Was it a sight of the 
place, or of the Saviour! He answered, " It was both. I 
had four distinct sights ; I saw the glory of the Father, 
the glory of the Redeemer, and then the Redeemer in 
his manhood, as covered with wounds : — and also the 
Holy Spirit in his glory, ready to seal every soul who 
would take shelter in those wounds ! I now feel my 
soul all on the watch. I seem as if I feared to speak or 
move lest I should in any wise grieve that Holy Spirit." 

My soul was much comforted at hearing this. Ah '. 
Lord, hast thou begun ? Then thou wilt go on. I do now 
believe an outpouring of thy Spirit will soon be given, 
and " times of refreshing shall come from the presence 
of the Lord." This man had a taste of pure love some 
months ago, but lost it through unprofitable reasonings. 
Ever since his first awakening he has been a pattern to 
others, and, I believe, never lost his first love.* 

July 4. When I awoke, I found those words applied, 
" Pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks." 
This morning reflecting on them while in prayer, 
the whole passage seemed to be applied to my heart, 
" Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in every 
thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Je- 
sus concerning you." The last word made a deep im- 
pression, " concerning you ;" — And I take it as a mes- 
sage from heaven. Lord, give me powfer to fulfil this 
sweet direction ! 

July 18. A few nights since those words seemed con- 
tinually with me, 

" In all my ways His hand I own, 
His ruling providence I see." 

The next day a change took place in my house, and se- 
veral circumstances occurred in church affairs. O what 
a comfort was that sentence to me I Yes, my Lord, I da 
see thou dost order all things, and on thee I rest. 

* It is with great propriety that Mrs. Fletcher bears this testimony con- 
cerning the spirit and conduct of a person who was favoured with such 
manifestations. Ed, 



PART VII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 377 

August 19. This last week has been very solemn. 
Eighteen years my dear husband has been in glory. O ! 
how has each day brought its remembrance ! O carry 
on thy work in my soul with more power ! I cannot 
have much longer to remain here. I see and feel thy 
gracious hand extended over me for good, and I long for 
a full conformity to my Lord. 

November 12. This day twenty-two years, at this 
very hour, I was in Batley church, solemnly engaging 
to be one soul, one body, one interest, with my beloved 
husband for ever ! But what have I seen in these twenty- 
two years ? What deep waters have I passed through ! 
I have been brought through, and mercy hath followed 
me to this hour. On this day I devote myself afresh to 
God. Let our wedding-day be a fresh consecration unto 
Him who is the centre of our union ! A little before my 
dear love's last illness he indulged a train of thoughts on 
what I should do, and how I should live without him. 
He spoke tenderly of my marrying again ; but finding I 
could not bear the thought, he said no more. Since hi? 
death the light hath always shone quite clear on my soul S 
— that I was not called to join in marriage with any man 
on earth, but to preserve the privileges of a single life 
which are so graciously bestowed upon me. Satan has 
spared no pains to trouble me in this way ; but blessed 
be the Lord, my light in this hath never been darkened 
one moment. I am the Lord's, and he hath opened my 
way before me, and still makes my cup rwn over with 
loving-kindness and mercy. " Bless the Lord, O my 
soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name." 

November 14. In meeting the people on Sunday 
morning I was struck with that thought, " The mind is 
to the soul, what the mouth is to the body." I must 
take in food or lose my strength ; but if I take poison I 
must die. Nay, if I avoid poison, but yet feed on wood 
and chaff, I shall as surely die. So the mind is the 
mouth of the soul : and though I should start at anv 

32 * 



378 THE LIFE Of [PART \n : 

thought apparently sinful, yet if I starve it instead of con- 
tinually endeavouring to draw the sincere milk of the word, 
1 still sow to corruption, and what I sow that I shall reap. 
Then let me fix my eye on the great mystery of God 
made man ! Why did God become man ? It was man 
by whom the covenant was broken, and therefore man 
must have suitable punishment laid upon him. It was 
God with whom it was broken, and therefore God must 
have suitable satisfaction made unto him. And as to that 
satisfaction, it was man that had offended, therefore it 
was man alone that could make it suitable. It was God 
that was offended, and therefore it was God alone that 
could make it sufficient. Now, being man as well as God, 
it behooved him to fulfil all righteousness, to keep the 
whole law in the perfect manner required by the Adamic 
dispensation : yet, as being God coequal with the Fa- 
ther, it was not from duty, but merely upon our account, 
that he thus subjected himself to the yoke of his own 
laws, himself, as God, being the Lawgiver, and so no 
more under it than the Father himself. Whatever there- 
fore Christ did or suffered in the flesh, was meritorious, 
and the believer has accepted it. Mr. Wesley observes, 
in his note in the sermon on the Lord our Righteousness, 
This obedience of Christ, as it was infinite, pure, and 
perfect, did, without doubt, infinitely transcend all the 
obedience of all the sons of men, even if they had re- 
mained in their primitive state ; for their obedience 
would still have been but the obedience of finite creatures, 
whereas the obedience of Christ was the obedience of 
one who was truly God as well as man, by which the 
laws of God had a divine obedience performed to them. 
Thev could command no more than the obedience of 
finite creatures ; whereas the obedience of Christ was 
the obedience of one who was the infinite Creator, as 
well as a finks creature ; and by this he hath purchased 
for us a far greater salvation than if man had not fallen. As 
our Head he hath also entered, yea, as our Forerunner, 
into that elcious union with the Deity which we could 



PART VII.] MRS ' FLETCHER. 379 

never have known but by the Word being made flesh, and 
performing this righteousness in our behalf. Now this 
transcendent glory, called the joy of the Lord, we are 
called to enter into — to be heirs of God, and joint-heirs 
-xith Christ ! As himself hath said, The glory which thou- 
hast given me, I have given them ! 

December 3. This day three years my dear Sally 
entered glory. O that I may be permitted to share with 
her the inheritance of the saints in light. I think I do en- 
joy it in a measure, for it is amazing to me how calm 
and comfortable my mind is kept, and how the Lord doth 
provide help for me in every circumstance. I have 
nothing to do but prepare for death. O for a constant 
look upward ! 

March 3, 1801. I have a deep conviction on my mind 
to-day of that truth, The heart of man always seeks rest 
in something ; therefore thoughts that please, and that 
have not the appearance of evil in themselves, yet if 
they are unnecessary they may lead to a seeking rest out 
of God. Here I have found Satan very busy, and am 
often forced to cry out, " I will know nothing but Jesus 
Christ, and him crucified." My heart is much in expec- 
tation of a closer union with my God than I have ever 
known. I wait for the Lord. 

April 26. Glory be to God ! I find him near, he 
seems to be sitting on my soul as a refiner's fire, and so 
calling every thought into judgment as I never found be- 
fore. We have had very sweet times of worship lately. 
The Lord is indeed carrying on his work, blessed be his 
name ; and I trust this meeting of the children will be 
for good. In this Miss Tooth is made of great use to me. 
O my tender Father ! Thou dost not_ suffer me to want 
any thing. 

June 17. Help me, O my Saviour ! It seems as if I 
could not get those answers to prayer which I want. 
Yet he gives me little touches — some tokens for good, 
before I rise from my knees. But Oh ! it is not what I 
long for. Such a sight I have of late into that word, 



380 THE LIFE OP [PART VII. 

Let that mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus '. O how 
much is contained therein ! Yet I see it is my privilege, 
for so I see the privilege held out by St. John, " Herein 
is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in 
the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this 
world." I tind many have been blest in our meetings 
lately ; but 1 did not hear of it till several days after the 
time. And hence it has been a season of temptation and 
discouragement with me. I thought what I had said was 
so short of what ought to have been spoken, that all the 
next week I felt a deep conviction, that unless the Lord 
put words into my mouth, and gave power with them, no 
good would be done. I even feared that the Lord did 
not approve of my calling the people together, when 
there was no one but me to speak to them. Yet I knew 
well that all the good done upon the earth is the Lord's 
doing, and that he can work by the meanest instrument. 
However, this was the conclusion, I must ask and wrestle 
for every meeting, public and private, and hang by faith 
on Christ alone, believing that word, " It is not you that 
speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in 
you." On last Monday night I felt the answer. Then I 
had great freedom, and I cannot tell how many have 
since praised God for the blessing brought into their 
souls that night. I can do nothing without much prayer. 
July 10. We have had an awful affair at a pit hard by. 
Three young men were killed outright. The following 
Sunday they were buried, and it was computed that more 
than a thousand persons attended their funeral. Mr. 
Walter took the opportunity to speak to them, 1 trust 
not without effect. As some had been burnt in that pit 
not long before, the master ordered the tools, &c. to be 
brought up, declaring he would have no more coal got 
there, at least for a time. Accordingly a man, one of 
our exhorters, who was an overseer of the work, went 
down with his eldest son, a fine youth about sixteen, and 
some other men. Just as the overseer got in, the va- 
pour caught fire again, killed his son, and a boy who was 



PART V1I-3 MRS « FLETCHER. 381 

with him, and most dreadfully burnt himself, and another 
man. Hexe was a trial indeed ! Both himself and his 
wife much delighted in that son, who was carried home 
dead, and himself not likely to live an hour. His wife, 
who had a child at her breast, fainted away, and for some 
time it was not known which would die first. But the 
Lord supported them both by his almighty power ; and 
the man was so filled with the love of God, in his great- 
est extremity of pain, that he has been a wonder to all. 
He declared, that the Lord did so make his bed in his 
sickness that he could feel no will but that of God ; and 
in that will he did glory ! The other person who was 
burnt, was a young man that had a few years ago had some 
desires after true religion, but of late he had wholly 
fallen back. Between the two there was a striking con- 
trast. The young man was all terror, and shrieked 
dreadfully. He had no comfort in pain, and no pleasant 
prospect if it should end in death. O what need have 
we to use the present hour ! Lord, give US unceasing 
prayer I O let us live in the constant view of eternity ! 
It is hoped both the men will recover. 

August 27th. Glory be to God ! I daily prove he is 
faithfulness and love. A few mornings ago I awoke with 
that word, " As thy day so shall thy strength be.*' I did 
not take particular notice of it then ; but yesterday, 
through an uncommon providence, I was called to go 
through such fatigue as to me seencd impossible. Yet 
I was carried through all with such ea.'-a, both as to body 
and mind, as amazed me. O let me 'earn by all to live 
without fear, for I have in thee, O Lord, such a treasure- 
house as will always supply my every want. There is 
no room for fear or care. No, " tlu: government is on 
thy shoulder." All the weight lies there, and my busi- 
ness is to sing and praise all the way through. 

November 9. Many mercies am I surrounded with ; 
and though I have many infirmitias of body, yet they 
are so held as with a bridle that i do not suffer much, 
and am able to attend all my appointments. I see all right ; 



384 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

years since, a person with whom I was intimate, and wha 
meant well, was certainly very imprudent. Some of the 
blame fell on me, though I was quite clear. But 1 feared 
the reproach, and in order to justify myself, I told many 
of the particulars which were not necessary, and thus 
I rather aggravated the circumstances. I was afterward 
much pained. The other night, as I lay in bed, it all 
came before me. I was nearly crushed, — until those 
words gave me some relief — " They to whom much is 
forgiven, love much. 1 ' O my gracious Lord, let this be 
fulfilled in me !* 

This morning in prayer, and afterward in reading the 
second and third chapter of the Colossians, I felt much 
encouragement. This day I could not but observe, that 
a power had rested on my mind ever since Sunday, which 
had kept off the enemy when he would approach ; and if 
a thought would strive to creep in, I felt as if my faithful 
Lord gave me instantly a check, and excited me to be- 
ware. All these days I have seen such various mercies 
as I cannot express. Truly I can say, 

" In all my vvays his hand I own, 
His ruling providence I see." 

I was greatly struck last night by hearing of a young wo- 
man who was to have been married next Monday. One 
of her ungodly companions, on the pit-bank, asked her 
where she intended to keep her wedding ? She pro- 
fanely answered, " In hell." Soon after, being at her 
work near the mouth of the pit, her foot slipped, she fell 
in, and was dashed to pieces! This and some other 
things which have lately occurred of the same kind, 
seem to have brought eternity very near. O how im- 
portant is every moment. 

October 12. Come, Lord Jesus, and give me the 
complete victory ! Last Sunday was a time of power to 
many, as they have since told me. This day I have been 
pleading with the Lord to take me altogether into his 

* How afflicting to a pure conscience does any transgression of the law 
of love appear, even after it has been forgiven, and the corrupt principle 
removed from the soul ! Ed. 



PART V1II-] MRS. FLETCHER. 38«J 

hand. O, what a struggle it is to keep faithful in reject- 
ing useless thoughts ! O, how hard never to offend with 
the tongue ! 

December 13. Glory be to God for many mercies 
since I wrote last. Some peculiar answers to prayer I 
must relate. The rich hardly enter into the kingdom, and 
therefore we the more abundantly praise Him in behalf 
of Mrs. B. and Mrs. E. Mrs. B. was, by nature, re- 
markable for a worldly spirit, a lion-like temper, and 
being hard to please. She had also used the means of 
grace for several years, without bearing fruit. About 
two years ago her health began to decline ; and soon 
after conviction began to fasten on her soul, though her 
complaint did not appear dangerous. Her cry was, for 
the comforts of religion, and she wondered why she 
could not feel them as others did. I clearly saw she was 
still unawakened, though somewhat enlightened. We 
prayed for her, and with her ; and in a few months she 
began to feel she was a sinner. Her disorder also grew 
extremely painful ; but her cry now was, "0,1 hope the 
Lord will not take away my pain till he sees I shall not 
grow hardened again. O, what a gospel-hardened sinner 
have I been ! I have sat under the strongest truths ; 
and all the time the world had my heart. Sometimes I 
did feel too ; but as soon as I came home, all was gone. 
Yes, I had rather have my pain, bad as it is, than be 
gospel-hardened again." She continued mourning a long 
time, often saying, I can get no answer, no, not the least 
answer — yet I hope too. Those words of the hymn are 
often on my mind, 

'' I the chief of sinners am, 
But Jesus died for me." 

We now began to discern a great change. The lion was 
lost in the dove and the lamb. She continued to increase, 
by degrees, in her confidence. Sometimes she found 
such a hold of the Saviour, and such overflowing love, as 
if she could never fear more. Then conflicts would re- 



386 THE LIFE OF [PART Vlll, 

turn, but her faith grew more firm, till, at length, her 
peace was unshaken. For a long time, either Miss 
Tooth, or myself, have seen her continually, and wit- 
nessed the mighty change which was wrought on her. 
One only darling child, a nice house just built, and many 
other ties she had to hold her here ; but all was but as a 
grain in the balance in her account. She had truly sold 
all for the pearl of great price, and in the possession of 
that she was content, and proved to the last moment that 
she was a ne~w creature. 

The other I shall give in Miss Tooth's own words. 
i£ October the 3rd, Mrs. M. acquainted me with the ill- 
ness of Mrs. E. expressing a wish that I would see her, as 
it was too far for Mrs. Fletcher. 1 went the next morning, 
and found her very weak, but desirous of help for her 
soul. She told me, she had for some time been convinced 
there was no happiness but in religion. I endeavoured 
to point her to the source of all consolation, the atoning 
Lamb of God, who is ever ready to receive conscious 
sinners. When I had prayed, and was leaving her, she 
expressed herself in a most grateful manner, thanking me 
for my kindness in coming to see her, and begged to be 
remembered to Mrs. Fletcher, adding, How happy are 
the people who receive instruction from her.' She had 
attended Mrs. M 's school, and therefore was accus- 
tomed to Mrs. Fletcher's meetings. The next time I 
saw her, 1 read Mr. Fletcher's two letters to Miss Ire- 
land, who died of the same complaint — a consumption. 
She seemed much affected the whole time we were to- 
gether. After prayer I entreated her not to rest satis- 
fied with any comfort she might feel, but to be earnest 
with the Lord for a clear manifestation of his love to her 
soul. The next time I went, Mr. E. being at home, I 
could not see her, he being quite averse to it. However, 
I went again, and now all my fears were done away. 
what a change had taken place '. the new song was indeed 
put into her mouth, even of praise and thanksgiving unto 
e> •?- Gcd. As soor a? I came to her bed-side, she reached 



I'ART VIII.] MRS * FLETCHER. 33T 

out her hand, saying, ' I am glad to see you.' I answered, 
So am I, my dear, to see you, and I trust you have had 
some gracious visits from the Lord since we met last, 
She answered, ' O yes, many, many/ Then looking 
earnestly at me, she said, < That is asweet word, Whom 
the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scour geih every son that 
he receiveth ! And you know St. Paul saith, These light 
afflictions which are but for a moment, shall work out for 
us afar more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Then 
with her arms thrown up, as in a rapture of delight, she 
repeated, ' Afar more exceeding, a far more exceeding ! 
O, it is not possible to tell you what I feel in those words.' 
I said, My dear, you have now a sweet foretaste of that 
enjoyment you will shortly have in full possession. ' O 
yes,' replied she, ' that is the thing, that is the thing ! I 
am now so sure I shall be happy ! Yes, die when I 
will, I am sure 1 shall be eternally happy ! But it is no 
merit of mine ; no, it is nothing 1 have done. No, no, it is 
Jesus Christ hath died for me ! that is the comfort. O 
Miss Tooth, that is the comfort, Jesus Christ hath died 
for me !' Yes, I replied, that will never fail you. The 
Lord has been very gracious to you, and when I get 
home and tell dear Mrs. Fletcher, how will she praise 
the Lord for this ! She then cried out, < O beg her to 
pray for me. As long as I am here I hope she will not 
forget me. I have had those words very much on my 
mind, Be ye also ready, for at an hour that ye think not 
the Son of Man cometh.' With great solemnity, she re- 
peated, ' at an hour ye think not.'' I said, You can now 
praise the Lord that he did not call you at an hour when 
you thought not of him. ' O yes,' said she, ' 1 praise him 
for it. I praise him also every hour for this affliction : 
this light affliction.' She again expressed much love to 
Mrs. Fleteher, and said, ' I shall see her in glory.' She 
parted from me in words of heavenly love, and triumphant 
joy. Soou after she desired one present to read the bu- 
rial service, to which she listened with great attention ; 
but when they came to those words, Thanks be to God 



388 THE LIFE OF [PART Vlll. 

dio hath given us the victory through our Lord Jestis 
Christ, she was transported, and shouted aloud ^the high 
praises of her Saviour, who had given her the victory. 

I have it, I feel it,' she cried out ! And in the same hea- 
venly triumph she departed^ and entered her heavenly 
Father's house." 

January 23, 1806. Blessed he the Lord I feel an en- 
couraging hope, that this will be the best year of my life. 
I am waiting for my Lord to come and make my heart his 
loved abode, the temple of indwelling God. O how sweet 
?5 the communion of saints, when we meet with those who 
are all alive, or who are thirsting so to be ! but alas ! how 
rare are they found ! Last Tuesday we had Brother H. 
to preach here. I found him a man of God indeed, both 
his sermon and his pra3'ers had much unction. We had 
some comfortable conversation after supper. His words 
tended to raise faith and love in our souls. Among other 
profitable particulars, he mentioned one manifestation : it 
was as follows : — In his sleep he thought he was going to 
die, and pleaded that the Lord would give him the meet- 
ness for glory. After a time it was spoken to his heart, 
kl It is done, it is done ;" and he felt it was so, and found 
himself filled with the heavenly mind. Then he saw an- 
gels all round his bed, — one in particular of great beauty 
at the foot. He thought himself dying, and lay with great 
delight waiting the event. It then appeared to him he 
drew his last breath, on which the beautiful angel at the 
foot of the bed, clasped him in his arras, and conveyed 
him to the heavenly gates, which, as he stood before them, 
appeared very glorious. The angel then touched the 
gates, which immediately flew open, and such streams of 
glory came out, as seemed to constrain him to draw back 
some paces, as being a greater delight than he could yet 
bear ; but presently he went forward and entered the 
holy city. There he saw an innumerable company of 
<rlorified spirits, and the Patriarchs in a circle. Next to 
that circle, he saw another, of the Prophets ; and within 
that, all the Apostles. He then cried out, " But where 



PART VIII.J MRS. FLETCHER. 389 

is Jesus V* The adorable God-man then appeared in 
view ! which sight filled his soul with joy inexpressible ; 
and he observed beams of glory which proceeded from 
our Lord, and touched every one of the glorified spirits, 
showing how all their glory sprang from their union with 
the supreme Good. His ecstasy was now so great, he 
cried out, and shouted the name of Jesus till he awoke. 
He told me that for about three days he scarcely knew 
where he was, his soul was so wrapt up in the heavenly 
vision. I felt my soul much refreshed by his conversation. 
Sunday, March 30. On Tuesday night I dreamed I was 
sitting by a table, on which lay the large volume of my 
dear Mr. Fletcher's Life. I was at that time very thought- 
ful about the printing of his Works, fearing any thing 
should be done that he would not approve. He came in- 
to the room, but I did not look up, and being desirous to 
be alone, I went into the next room, and sat down. He 
called to me with his own well-known voice, saying, 
(i What art thou so afraid of me as to go out of the room 
as I come in ?" I started up and cried, No, my dear, I 
am not afraid of thee. I then returned, and sat down in 
my chair by the table ; he sat on the other side. Then 
taking up the book he said, There is no need for anxiety ; 
I would have thee read this book, it will give thee plea- 
sure. Take it up now ; thou wilt find something that will 
encourage thee. — Two days after, I received a letter 
from Mr. Benson, informing me, that a person in London 
had translated Mr. Fletcher's French Poem into English, 
and they had some thought of printing it with his other 
works, if found to be done in a respectable manner. 
Then I understood that my dear love told me of it, in 
order to prevent the uneasiness I should have felt had he 
not shown a degree of approval. I had no recollection 
of the Poem ; and that he should know I had not read 
the Life, and thus comfort me under the anxiety which I 
felt, was very pleasing to me. O, how indulging is my 
heavenlv Father l 

V 



390 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

May 24. A thought has much dwelt on my mind for 
some days, — That we should, many times in a day, ask 
ourselves, — Am I now causing joy or grief in heaven ? 
We are told there is joy in heaven over the sinne r that 
repenteth, and by parity of reason, over the advance of 
every child of God. Those words, (spoken of our Lord) 
follow me much, In all their afflictions he was afflicted. 
He hath taken our whole nature, and so will abide eter- 
nally. But his passions are all regulated by the divine 
nature. So in the case of Lazarus it is said, He groaned 
in spirit, and troubled himself.* It appears then — that 
he looks with delight or with mourning on his children. 
It is said, " As a bridegroom rejoiceth over his bride, so 
will the Lord thy God rejoice over thee ; He will rest in 
his love. He will joy over thee with singing." And the 
idea, that by turning away from this hurtful thought, I 
am giving pleasure to my Saviour, and resisting Satan, is 
a very animating conviction ; but, alas, 1 cannot express 
it in words : it is as if Jesus said, " My desire is towards 
thee ; let me not lose one thought." 

June 30. Blessed be the name of the Lord for the 
answers to prayer I have experienced of late ! One above 
all the rest demands my loudest praise i I have long 
been crying for my soul to be all eye, so that I should 
discern an unprofitable thought in its approach, — and now 
J have, from one particular day, felt this power continu- 
ally for about a month. I do not mean that my thoughts 
do not wander from the various objects which occur ;| 
hut if a thought would present itself so as to take up the 
.mind unnecessarily, in a moment I am warned and ena- 
bled to stand upon my guard. O my adorable Saviour J 
-Qine and fully possess my soul, and give me such a mea- 
p-ire of thy enlightening spirit that I may clearly discern 
Ike thing, which are given me of God ! 

Monday, July 7. Last night when I came out from the 
Society meeting, I found a letter from London, informing 

* In the original it is so. Ed. 
3ecMr ; Wes'ey's admirable scrnacn on wandering thoughts, Ei: 



PART VIII.] MRS « FLETCHER, 39 1 

me of the death of my dear brother Samuel, who died 
about eleven in the forenoon, on Friday last, the 4th of 
this month. I have had much encouragement in my mind 
about him for some days, and so have some of my 
spiritual friends. His death seems to bring eternity 
very near. 

August 14. Three seven years have I walked in 
widowhood. O what a situation was I in this day twenty- 
one years ! What trials have I since known, but what 
mercies also ! Yes, my gracious Lord, I find thou dost 
order all for me ! This day I renew my covenant to be 
all the Lord's. I know not what bitter cups may yet be 
preparing for me, but I here cast myself wholly into thy 
hands ! My body is weak with age, and threatened with 
many painful disorders ; but I leave all to thy adorable 
will. Miss Tooth seems threatened with a consumption. 
This would be an unspeakable loss, for she takes off all 
care from me, and is in every way an abundant comfort 
and help ; but this I also offer up to thee, my Lord. 

September 12. This day I enter into my 68th year. 
None of my family have lived to my age. Lord, what 
shall I do to live more abundantly to Thee ? O that I 
may take up every cross, and embrace it as a precious 
jewel ! O, the great advantage of living in the will of 
God! 

November 12. A memorable day to me! This day 
twenty-five years I gave my hand to my dear Mr. Fletcher. 
O, what a oneness of soul do I feel with him still ! Lord, 
give me the meetness to partake of that joy he lives in ! 
—I have of late been convinced it would help my faith 
to consider deeply what great loving-kindness and guard- 
ian care I have experienced from the Lord, since he hath 
taken my dear partner to glory. I may say indeed, good- 
ness and mercy hath followed me all my days. What a 
mercy that this house is still my home ! The vicar might 
have wanted it himself, or he might wish to let it to some 
other person. But in this Mr. Burton hath shown me 
much kindness,, as also Mr. Kenerson, the patron ; may 



392 THE LIFE OP [PART VIII, 

God bless them for it, and give them both everlasting 
habitations ! At this time I feel my soul drawn out after 
a closer union with the Lord. 

February 13, 1807. Though offences mil come, yet 
we have great cause to be thankful that the work pros- 
pers. Since the beginning of this year we have had 
seven triumphant deaths. One of them was Mrs. B. 
When I first saw her she was an object of great pity. 
She had lived in affluence, but was reduced almost to 
beggary. She had no bed.. I procured a little one for her, 
and she praised the Lord abundantly. She had for more 
than half a year laid on the ground. " It was," said she, 
il very hard, and my bones were sore ; but I enjoyed such 
communion with God, it bore me above all." She has 
suffered much for many years, but always had the con- 
solations of God, and sometimes very abundant. A few 
weeks before her death, when her son came home one 
day, she said, " I have had such a manifestation of the 
love of God as I cannot describe. I think if I was in 
heaven I could not enjoy more than I do!" This con- 
tinued with her to the last. She was one of the Lord's 
hidden jewels indeed, little known or noticed among 
men. Her appearance was mean, but she wets glorious 
within. Another was a child not twelve years old, the 
son of W. Smith. He had a long and severe illness, 
during which, the Lord brought him to rest in the will of 
God to a degree which amazed those about him, and 
much comforted his parents. Some time before his death, 
he had a wonderful manifestation of the love of God. 
He cried out to his iather and mother, — to be all in 
earnest. " It is," said he, " worth your while. O, what 
do I see ! how pretty ! how sweet ! how grand ! how 
glorious !" Then, as. conversing with the Lord, he said,. 
>< Lord Jesus, shall I come now ? Shall I come now ? I 
want to be with thee. Let me come now !" He became 
silent for some time ; then he said. " Not now, I must 
suffer longer." Three or four times after this .he had 
Glorious manifestations. In one of them, he told his 



SART 



VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 393 



father how his soul had been grieved to see their work- 
men play and trifle. — " Sure," said he, " they forget that 
God sees them every moment ; and when I think of 
backsliders, it makes my heart ready to bleed to think 
there are any who do not love Jesus." He pointed to a 
chest of drawers and said, "Father, if those drawers 
were full of gold, I would not take it for what I feel and 
see." When near death, as he sat in the chair, (for he 
could not lie down nor lean back, for want of breath) he 
told them how happy he was, and yet how very bad. He 
then said, " Father, put the pillow, I will try to lean 
back." When this was done, he cried out, " Triumph t 
triumph!" He then fell into a sweet sleep for about 
three-quarters of an hour ; when turning his face on one 
side, he died without any struggle. The others all died 
in clear light, but I have not the particulars. 

March 5. Glory be to God, I see more and more his 
tender care is over me and mine. I have had a time of 
trial from Miss Tooth's illness this last fortnight, but 
much mercy was mixed with judgment. Lord, spare her, 
if it please thee ! Thou knowest I have need of her 
help ; but thy will is the arm of the rock I cling to when 
the waves go over my head, and I know that rock will 
never fail me. 

A thought has struck my mind, That from some things 
mentioned in the notes subjoined to the Portrait of St. 
Paul, edited by Mr. Gilpin, after my dear husband's 
death, he might be thought to favour the opinions of 
Baron Swedenburg. I therefore think it my duty to bear 
my witness to the contrary. The first book which he 
saw contained but little amiss, and Mr. Wesley having 
observed concerning it, — " I think it will neither do good 
nor harm," — Mr. Fletcher soon after writing to his. 
brother, who had mentioned it, observed, that it was a 
book which he did not condemn. But when he had seen 
a little more of the Baron's works, he said to me one 

day, " Polly, I believe Mr. will be a Swedenburger, 

and I am very sorry for it." I said. Well, if he can 



391 THE LIFE OF [PART VIIL 

believe that there are wax candles and feasts in heaven f 
he must have strange ideas. Mr. Fletcher replied, " My 
dear, thou dost not perceive the snake in the grass. 
These books deny the atonement, and so strike at the 
very root of all true religion." In the same mind he con- 
tinued to the last. 

April 3. I feel within these few days, a drawing- 
nearer to the Lord ; - and a loving recollection of His 
presence to be the element in which alone my soul can 
grow. I feel an increasing expectation that the Lord 
will come, and take up his abode in my soul. That 
verse in Jeremiah, ch. xxxii. is much on my mind, " I 
will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will 
not turn away from them, to do them good ; but I will 
put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart 
from me. Yea, 1 will rejoice over them to do them 
good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with 
my whole heart, and with my whole soul." I look now 
hourly for this, that according to my former promise, I 
may " feed on Carmel and Bashan, and my soul be satis- 
fied in a close communion with God. 

August 14. This day twenty-two years my dearly- 
beloved husband entered glory. When I awoke this 
morning, the firet thought presented to my mind was, 
• — How has my soul grown in these twenty-two years ? 
I felt a deep sinking before the Lord, that it had not 
grown more abundantly. I am sensible of a progress, 
but alas ! it is very small when compared with what might 
have been. I place in Jesus my whole confidence. My 
hope is in him as my great high- priest, and those words 
are very sweet to me, " The author and finisher of our 
faith." O my adorable Saviour, I am as the clay in thy 
hand ; make me such a vessel as thou shalt choose me 
to be ! Some things have occured which, years ago, 
would have been a great trial. But I now see and feel a 
great beauty in the cross ; and have such evident proof 
that He orders all, that I can leave all my cares in his. 
hand. 



FART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 395 

September 11. If I live till to-morrow I shall be 
sixty-eight years old, and my dear Mr. Fletcher would 
on that day have been seventy-eight. O how long has 
he been in glory before me ! He was ripe, and sweetly 
gathered into the garner. Lord, prepare thy poor crea- 
ture to follow him. I have had my niece Whittingham 
(my dear sister's daughter,) with me for some time, whom 
I had not seen since she was twelve years old. I have 
found much satisfaction in the interview. Blessed be 
God for the work wrought on her soul, and for the pious 
husband the Lord hath provided for her. How much 
better is she off than if she had remained in the world ! 
Truly, " Godliness hath the promise of this life, and of 
that which is to come." I am surrounded with blessings ; 
I want no earthly comfort. O that I had a more grateful 
heart. 

December 15. I have been a fortnight laid aside 
from a bad cold, and much weakness on my lungs ; 
but what cause have I to praise the Lord ! I have ex- 
perienced his tender care in many ways. One night, 
when more ill than before, I was offering up my soul and 
body for time and eternity, into the hand of my gracious 
Redeemer, and longing for a fuller preparation for that 
Jay, which I saw could not be far off; and being hardly 
able to keep in bed for want of breath, — I found, all at 
once, as if 1 were surrounded, or overshadowed with 
a sweet and sacred power! I cannot describe it ; but I 
felt as if I was so encircled by, and drawn into the pre- 
sence of God, that nothing could approach to hurt me ! 
I said, Not a thought can arise " to disturb my beloved 
till he please." It lasted about half an hour, and show- 
ed me how easy the Saviour can inclose the soul as an 
island in the midst of the sea ! 

December 31. O my God, how do I close this year ? 
I am still confined to my chamber, and mend bra slowly. 
But I feel the Lord is at work on my soul. I pant for a 
more lively faith, and, blessed be God, I have found an 



39# THE LIFE OF [PART VIII.- 

increase since this illness. Truly, he makes all my bed 
in my sickness, and keeps me night and day, 

January 1, 1808. And do I see the beginning of 
another year ? Yes, my Saviour ! thou dost yet spare 
me. I have been sometime in a near prospect of death. 

that I may use every moment to gain more of thy like- 
ness ! I cannot be far from eternity. O my God make 
me ready ! Phave not been able to begin this year with 
the dear people as usual, being still confined, yet mercy 
is in all my cup. How light are my pains compared with 
others ! 

February 9. Blessed be the Lord, he hath wonderfully 
renewed my strength ! I have been out these three 
weeks, and have gone through my meetings in the week 
as before ; and, praised be the Lord ! I feel greater 
liberty than ever. The other day I found among some 
old papers a few lines I wrote many years ago. They 
were blest to me ; and, a? I hope they will be a blessing 
to others, I transcribe them. 

Saturday, July 18, 1761. We had a good time at the 
meeting this morning, at Brother Biggs's. Mr. Fletcher 
was with us ; and as I was speaking of my discourage- 
ments, he said, " Make more use of Jesus. The reason 
why you find a spark of faith and love, when you repeat 
those words, ' On thine arm do I trust,' — which you 
do not feel at other times is, because at that time you 
make an act of faith ; but you do not continue that act of 
faith, which is the reason you do not always feel the same. 
If' our anchor is cast within the veil,' we must be cast- 
ing it further and further, that we may draw our souls 
nearer and nearer to God. There is nothing which 
draws my soul to God like the consideration of his love to 
me ; it is on that I must fix my eyes, and when 1 feel ?uy 
heart has wandered, and I am cold and dead, and una :'e 
to watch and pray, this is my method, — I return just <s 

1 am to Christ, and cast myself a-^ain on his mei^cy, ph;td- 
ing — Thou art the righteousness of the ungodly, the 



PART VIII.] MllS * FLETCHER. *397 

strength of the weak, the helper of the helpless ;— thou 
art the friend of sinners ;— in short, he is the God of 
fallen man." He again observed,—" He doth not re- 
quire us to stay for a broken heart ; for what would 
repentance avail if he did not work it? We also lose 
much for want of thankfulness. We should praise God 
for every good desire we feel, though, perhaps, as yet, 
we have not power to put it in practice." 

Mr. Maxfield was, at that time, a very blessed instru- 
ment among us, and great power attended his word. 
Although very painful things afterward occurred.* I do 
not think myself clear unless I bear a testimony to that 
truth. I took down a few particulars of a sermon of his 
which I will here repeat. 

Sunday, November 2, 1761. Mr. Maxfield preached 
on the history of the Israelites taking Jericho. He ob- 
served, — " By what is said of Jericho, we may be in- 
structed concerning the evils contained in our hearts. — 
It was the « Captain of the Lord's host,' by whose com- 
mand Joshua acted, — and this captain was our Lord Je- 
sus, who still goeth before every one who believes in 
his name. But, added he, there is one thing very ma- 
terial to observe,—' Jericho was straightly shut up, none 
went out and none came in.' Now is this the case with 
your hearts ? Are you watching over your ear, your 
eye, your tongue ? Are you careful neither to see, 
hear, nor speak any thing, but what tends to draw your 
souls to God 2 Many of you will perhaps ask, why do 
not the walls of Jericho, my corrupt heart, fall before 
the Lord, as I have been seeking so many years. I 
will tell you why, — your Jericho is not ' straightly shut 
Up.' It may be that every idle story your neighbour 
brings to your ears, or foolish imagination Satan suggests 
to your minds, finds a ready entertainment, and your 
minds are filled with unprofitable thoughts, which, like a 

* He sepaiftted from Mr. Wesley, and did much harm in the London 
Society. Ed. 

34 



398 THE LIFE OF [PART Till. 



crowd, get between you and your Saviour, lou might 
seek thus for ten thousand years, and be no nearer. 
Every thought that doth not tend towards God, if in- 
dulged, stops the work of sanctification ; and you will 
never advance towards holiness, till you exert with 
resolution the power which God hath given you, in 
resisting steadfastly every thought and word which would 
come between your soul and Christ. But those who are 
thus watching and keeping their hearts, so that nothing 
can find entrance till it be examined, and known from 
whence it comes, — Let them take courage. I am sure 
your souls thus waiting, will not wait long before your 
•Joshua will command them to shout!' Only let them 
believe, and continue to watch. The Israelites were 
bid not to shout, nor make any noise, till they were 
commanded ; and when that moment should come, was 
known only to Joshua. They believed and followed. 
So let us hang by a simple faith on Jesus, listening every 
moment what his Spirit shall dictate to our hearts ; for 
1 the Captain of the Lord's host' is with us, and ' he 
hath his sword drawn in his hand' to conquer all our 
adversaries. And though you feel your sinful tempers, 
be not discouraged, for the inhabitants of Jericho were 
not only alive to the last, but in full strength. When the 
power of faith comes, the strong walls of unbelief shall 
drop down, and you shall go up and possess the good 
land ! How little, and idle, it would appear in the eyes 
of these enemies, thus to walk round the walls, blowing 
rams' horns ! So we think our labour and spiritual 
striving avail nothing ; but only let us continue to cut off 
every word or thought which would give food to the old 
man, and thus obey, in firm reliance, that ' our Joshua 
will be the author and finisher of our faith,' and we 
shall find him ' faithful who hath promised, who also 
will do it.' " 

March 3. This was a good morning to me, the Lord 
was very present when I awoke ; and I had such a view 
of the all-sufficiency of the Saviour as I cannot express ! 



PUlTVni.] y*K*' FLETCHER. 399 

Such a safety in trusting in his arm alone ! That thought 
struck me,— Many great kings have said, " I have no 
cause to fear, for I have vast armies, great allies, «ke," 
But O what a fly did it all appear to me, when compared 
to the power I felt in that simple word, '•'■ Jesus is on my 

side!" 

March 18. Yesterday I found an increase of faith, 

what repeated proofs I have that the Lord doth watch 
over his poor creature with guardian care ! I had some- 
thing to do in the work of God which was attended with 
difficulty ; and yet I scarcely knew how to go out in the 
sharp east wind. But, O how was every thing ordered! 

1 found also such liberty in visiting the sick, as if every 
word was immediately given me. I had such a view into 
ihe way of faith, — and the atonement was made so clear, 
as I cannot express. I saw also the Lord's tender care 
in a variety of other occurrences. What a freedom 
from care hath the soul who singly trusts in Jesus ! 

March 29. I cannot be thankful as I would for the 
restoration of health which I feel. Cold as it is, I have 
been enabled to keep to all my meetings, — seven or eight 
times a week ; and my nights are as comfortable as when 
I was but twenty. I feel no complaint of my breath, 
when still, nor in bed. O that I might use all my little 
strength to the glory of God ! 1 see death very near, 
notwithstanding this amendment. 

On looking over my Journal, I »»»* some observations 
which 1 wrote on the death of my dear father in Christ, 
Mr. "Wesley. I think I must have mislaid that sheet, or 
perhaps lent, and so lost it. However, I wish now to 
bear my testimony to the truth. I shall have cause to 
bless God throughout eternity that ever I knew that 
precious and highly favoured servant of the Lord Jesus. 
He ivas indeed a star in the Almighty's hand, and a won- 
derful instrument of good to our nation. When I was 
very low after my dear husband's death, among the many 
gloomy thoughts which came to my mind, one was, that 
I had not so profited by Mr. Wesley's excellent advice 



400 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII, 

as I might have done ; and I wrote to him expressing 
that sentiment; to which he gave me the following 
answer : " My dear sister, I do not remember you ever 
disobliged me in any thing. On the contrary, you have 
for these many years done every thing in your power to 
oblige me." Indeed I saw it my duty so to do, and must 
acknowledge my many and great obligations to that great 
and good man. 

May 26. How good do I find it to lie quiet in the 
hand of Jesus ! All, all works for good. 1 have been 
ill with a cold three weeks, and trust I am laid aside for 
a season, in order to gain the blessings of retirement. 
Some fatigues which have occurred from company rather 
threw me back. The providence of God appeared so 
clear, I could only say, O how true is that word, 

" Jesus doth my burden bear, 
Jesus takes my ev'ry care." 

Some nights when I could not lie down for the cough 5 
and want of breath, I felt a sweet sense of the presence 
of God, and of the heavenly spirits ! Not any particular- 
rapture, but a solemn consciousness ; and those words 
were with me continually, 

" Do what thou wilt with this weak clay, 
But let me all thy mind fulfil, 
But let me all thy will obey." 

June 1. Blessed be the Lord I am better, and was 
enabled to meet the class yesterday morning, though I 
*poke with difficulty. This muming I have found an 
increase of faith in reading the 10th chapter of Hebrews. 
O that perfect, that complete sacrifice ! Yes, he hath 
once for all paid the whole debt, there is therefore a free 
and open way into the holiest ! I see death so near, I 
find it on my heart to pray for, and take thought of, the 
work of God in this place. O my Saviour, cause it to 
increase abundantly ! Keep away stumbling-blocks, and 
pour out thy Spirit in a peculiar manner on my dear 
husband's orphans. I could wish Miss Tooth to remain 
in Madely, if a way should be made for her, and that she 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 401 

might be able to take in the preachers. I can see no 
other way so likely and proper ; and I think it would be 
the most comfortable for them. All is in the hand of the 
Lord. She has the cause of God truly at heart, and if 
her health is restored, she will, I believe, be very useful 
to the people. That word I think of with pleasure, All 
'hings are beautiful in their season. So I trust I shall 
find it. O that death may have no sting for me, and that 
her way may be opened before her by the Lord ! 

August 4. Having been told by several persons that a 
report has got abroad, That my dear Mr. Fletcher ex- 
pressed a sorrow for having wrote his checks to anti- 
somiamsm, and that he died in quite a different opinion. 
I do solemnly aver there is no truth in the assertion. So 
far from that, a little before his death, speaking of the 
hurt that so close an application had caused to his health, 
I said, but thou dost not repent the labour ? He re- 
plied, " O no, it was a great blessing to my soul. And 
if my strength was wasted thereby, it was in the cause of 
truth." I never knew him have the least variation in 
his sentiments ; aud I am sure he did not willingly con- 
ceal any part of his mind from me, any more than I did 
from him. 

I had this morning a solemn look at death. Many 
complaints seem to be gathering about me, and they seem 
to portend sufferings, but I feel a spirit of true sacrifice, 
and those words are sweetly on my mind, 

" Leave to His sov'reign sway 

To choose and to command, 
So shalt thou wondering own his way, 

How wise, how good his hand !" 

August 18. From an uncommon hurry of strangers 
being here, and other circumstances, I have had no time 
for writing in my journal, though 1 should have liked ia 
*et down many things. All the last week was very so- 
lemn ; the day of my dear husband's death, falling on the 
Sabbath this year, brought each scene to its. own period, 



402 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII, 

and caused me frequently to look back and praise the 
Lord, who had preserved me in the deep waters through 
which I at that time passed. I had a most humbling 
view or the little progress I have since made ; yet I 
found a great confidence in my good Shepherd, whose wise 
providence I have seen and experienced in a remarkable 
manner. lie does so fit my strength to my day, and or- 
ders all in such wonderful mercy, that truly I am con- 
strained to say, (unworthy as I am) 

" Round me and beneath are spread 
The everlasting arms." 

September 12. At eight o'clock this morning, sixty- 
nine years ago, I was born. How many dangers I have 
passed through ! But Thy merciful arm has been over 
me, and proved by a thousand and a thousand ways, that 
(he hairs of my head are indeed numbered. O my great 
Deliverer! how hast thou stood by me, and heaped 
mercy upon mercy on me ! 

September 15. I feel a fresh beam of light upon my 
soul ! A further discovery of the extent of the atone- 
ment. On Tuesday night, when at prayer, I found the eye 
of faith grow brighter, and the open fountain more plain 
before me. O the liberty the believer hath of coming 
every moment to the Saviour ! If I shut my eyes I may 
fancy the sun doth not shine ; but the vail is not on the 
sun, but on my eyes. The Saviour saith, Whosoever 
cometh wito me, I will in m> -wise cast out. Lord, give me 
ever to feel the sense of this truth which I now do, that, 
every moment I may wash my robes, and both make and 
keep them white, for thy blood cleanseth from all sin. 

Blessed be God, another is gone to her rest, our dear 
Sister Benbow, the account of whom, by Miss Tooth, I 
had not time before to enter. " From what Mrs. Ben- 
bow has told me, I have reason to believe she had been 
under the drawings of God from her earliest youth. 
Some years since she began to come to the Monday meet- 
ings at Madely. These she found so profitable, that, 
although the difficulty -was great,, owing to her weakness, 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 403 

she would still persevere. These last three years she 
has been confined by illness, but often expressed her 
longing desire to be at those opportunities again, if the 
Lord should permit. Upwards of two years ago I went 
to see her, and I may say, I have counted it my privi- 
lege and honour to visit her at every opportunity since 
that time. She drank in instruction from either conver- 
sation or reading. The experience and death of the 
children of God were the delight of her soul. Mr. 
Fletcher's letters, and his appeal, were much blest to 
her. Concerning the latter she would say, " Blessed be 
God for that book, for it hath taught me the way to Jesus 
by faith." When I have been reading to her, observing 
her pain to be so violent, I have for a time laid the book 
aside ; but she would say, '• No, read on, it does me 
good. It refreshes me, and gives me encouragement. O 
what should I do if his everlasting arms were not under- 
neath me, but he does sweetly support me, glory be unto 
him." 

She suffered great pain, even to agony, yet not one 
murmuring word was heard to drop from her lips. In 
one minute she would be crying out with the violence of 
the pain — the next she would be saying, Thy will be 
done, my sweet Saviour ! I would suffer all thy will. 

" I the chief of sinners arn, 
But Jesus, died for me !" 

I feel great peace, and those words are powerfully ap- 
plied, / know that my Redeemer liveth. I can say with 
David, Though my flesh and my heart faileth, God is the 
strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. O that 
word, for ever ! There is something so sweet in that 
word, for ever! Another day, as I entered the room, 
she cried out with triumphant joy, His banner over me is 
love .' O the sweet times I have had this last week in 
reading the Scriptures ! Another time, as I was observ- 
ing the power of divine grace in loosing the heart from 
earthly attachments, she said, I prove that, for time was 
when I seemed to have ten thousand ties to this world. 



404 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

but now I have not one. Jesus has broke every chain. 
Through all her sufferings her constant language was, 
blessing and praising the Lord for his goodness ; ever de- 
claring all her trust and confidence was in the atoning 
blood. Often, in the midst of the most exquisite suffer- 
ings, she would enumerate her mercies, saying, What 
comforts I am surrounded with ! Such tender affection- 
ate children to nurse me ! And above all, the prayers 
of God's people. O, I cannot tell half the things that call 
for thankful praise. When the preachers, or Mr. Walter, 
visited her, she has often observed to me, with delight, 
what a blessing it was to her. On June 3, she told me 
she had neither doubt nor fear, nothing disturbed her ; 
and though in the most violent pain, she cried out, " Not 
one pain less! I would not have one pain less, if this 
is thy will, my sweet Lord Jesus ! In the night of the 
7th of June, she waked, and said, I am quite well ! I 
have neither ache nor pain. Miss Benbow, who sat up 
with her, being much affected, and not immediately re- 
plying, she again cried out, Nancy, I have neither ache 
nor pain ! Give praise to the Lord ! O give thanks to 
God. Miss Benbow said, And are you happy, Mother ? 
She answered, Yes, quite so. A short time before she 
departed, she said, "Sweet Jesus, come quickly!" 
These were the last words she uttered. From this time 
she lay with a smiling countenance, that bespoke a sweet 
serenity within ; and at the last she went off so quietly, 
they could scarcely perceive when she drew her last 
breath, which was on Thursday morning, June 9, 1808. 
November 12. Memorable day to rae ! This day 
twenty-seven years (the day of my marriage) I was full 
of anxiety at this hour ; but, O what cause have I had 
to rejoice in the transaction of that day ! As the morning 
approached, I felt a fresh conviction — this is the day I 
peculiarly consecrate to my adorable Lord, and I felt it 
good to wait upon the Lord. My faith was invigorated, 
and my expectation enlarged. O hew Hide doth all 
appear to me that is not eternity ! 



FAflT Till.] MRS. FLETCHER. 405 

December 6. I hare been called, since I wrote last, 
to a new dispensation. I had for more than two months 
been lame at times with my right knee, yet walked about, 
though with some pain. But some days since it grew 
worse, till last Thursday, when it was so well I could 
walk without a stick, and thought myself cured. That 
night, as I was going to bed, in a moment I felt a pain in 
it which rendered me quite helpless. How it will end I 
know not ; but I feel a sweetness in repeating, " My 
father cannot err, and I will never choose." This trial 
has been much blest to me. It brings eternity near. 1 
have also had a deeper conviction of the need of a more 
earnest pursuing after entire holiness, and my mind has 
been more stayed on the Lord, and kept in more abund- 
ant peace. 1 knew not how I should be got out of the 
chamber, but we found a chair with wheels, which would 
go through the doors, so that I can be brought in and 
out of the study ; and such a number of little helps (but 
to me great ones) has occurred, that I see the hand of 
my dear Father in all around me as I cannot express. 

December 13. Last night I had pain, but blessed be 
the Lord, with a mixture of ease and rest. My complaint 
is said to be an inflammation on the knee bone ; but I am 
affected in various ways. As I had to sit up in bed a 
good while in the night, I felt it profitable. 

December 26. This has been a solemn Christmas to 
me. Though confined to my room, my soul has been on 
a stretch for holiness, especially to-day. O what cause 
of praise ! How truly is that promise fulfilled,* " Do not 
be frightened, God will make you a comfortable habita- 
tion."' And so he doth indeed, and that other word, so 
often given me of lite, " A? one whom his mother com- 
forteth, so ..ill I comfort thee." Yes, I can rely -n his dear 
arm, and cling to his will. But O I long that God should 
take up the whole of my heart as his abiding throne ! 

March 20, 1809. Yesterday was a comfortable Sab- 
bath. The Lord carried me through all the four meet- 

* See Page 202. 



406 Trite LIFE OF [part Yin. 

ings,* and blessed me with hi3 gracious presence, glory 
be to his holy name ! Reading those words of Baxter, 
" There is far more procured for us by Christ, than we 
lost in Adam," — I felt a peculiar power in it ; and while 
meditating thereon, I said in my heart, Then how great 
may our expectations be ! Immediately that word came 
to my mind, Open thy mouth wide, and I will Jill it. O my 
God, how shall I comprehend what thou hast to bestow ! 

for more of that sacred violence which takes the kingdom 
by force. 

March 22. We had much hurry yesterday, but, 
blessed be God, I felt great calmness all day. My medi- 
tation ran much on that scripture, He that receivetk yoti, 
receiveth me; and again, — Whatsoever ye do to one of the 
least of these, is done unto me. This morning feeling some 
symptoms of a very painful disorder, I was offering it up 
to the Lord, that he might do all his will upon me, when 

1 thought of those lines, 

" The Lord my pasture shall prepare, 
And feed me with a shepherd's care. 
His presence shall my wants supply, 
And guard me with a watchful eye. 
My noon-day walks he shall attend, 
And all my midnight hours defend.'' 

I fe!t a power as I repeated them, but afterwards doubly 
so. it was given me as my own. Yes, my faithful Lord, 
4i Thou wilt not suffer me to be tempted above what I 
am able, but will with the temptation make a way to 
escape, that I may" be able to bear it. I feel an increase^ 
of both fdita and love. Lord, let me grow stronger and 
stronger in Thee ! 

April 5. I have lately received some particular an- 
swers to prayer. Lord, let my gratitude bear propor- 
tion with my mercies ! I have been now able to go out 
for severaj weeks, and to attend all my meetings, often 
very comfortably, even eight or nine times in a week. 
My breath is better than it hath been for years ; and 

* It seems she had now recovered fro-n h*-r lameness. Ed. 



PART VIlI.j MRS. FLETCHER. 407 

though my limbs are weak and stiff, I can walk so as to 
visit some sick who are near to us. and go up and down 
stairs many times a-day, blessed be the Lord, who holds 
all our disorders in his hand, and times them as he sees 
good. O that 1 may use all my remaining strength to 
his glory ! 

April 26. Glory be to God, I have felt him working 
on my soul for some days, and drawing my mind into a 
more steady recollection. Rending the account of Israel 
passing over Jordan, I was led to reflect thai 1 had 
nothing to do but believe, and follow the Lord, and all 
difficulties would vanish out of my way in spiritual things, 
as they have done in temporal. He will fulfil all his 
gracious promises. Yes, my faithful Saviour, I lock for 
the blessed moment when I shall have my delight in the 
Almighty, beyond all I have ever known. I feel a 
glorious day approaching. Lord, hasten the hour ! 

In order to make the day more profitable, let me con- 
sider, — I usually rise between five raid sis. Then let 
me behold Jesus by the eye of faith, sitting on the right 
hand of God, exalted in glory, yet looking down on me. 
Inclining his gracious ear to my prayer, and saying, vt Let 
me hear thy voice ; pray without ceasing. Every one 
that asketh receiveth." My heart shall answer, O most 
faithful and loving Saviour, permit me again to throw 
myself at thy dear feet. Thy mercy hath preserved me 
this night from men and devils. Thou hast made me to 
rest in safety. For this my soul doth adore thee ! And 
I praise thee, O Lord, for some degree of health. While 
many are in racking pain, I am in ease, and have the use 
of my understanding, and a comfortable degree of sight 
and hearing ; yea, thou hast preserved to me the use of 
all my limbs and facuHies ; and here I consecrate them 
all to thee! O, take my soul and body's powers, and let 
them be at thy disposal this day. I here renew my 
covenant to become altogether thine ; and to be obedi- 
ent to thy will. Whatever thou slnlt appoint this day, 
my Lord and Master, give me to receive it in the di- 



408 THE LIFE OB* [PART VIII. 

vine order ! Give me this day to watch every moment, 
that I may not lose one opportunity of taking up my cross, 
nor of doing good either to the souls or bodies of men. 
Yea, let me strive to confer happiness or comfort, on 
every one, even to the brute creation. This is thy will. 
O do not suffer me to miss one instance in which I might 
have such an honour! O Lord, grant thy Spirit's teach- 
ing, that I may lie at thy feet, and listening to thy 
voice, have power to obey it. Give me, O Lord, this 
day the spirit of recollected prayer ! That prayer of 
faith which cannot go unanswered. And; O my Lord, I 
entreat thee, by all the mercy and love thou hast shown 
me, thy most unworthy creature, that thou wouldst fa- 
vour me with the key of the holy Scriptures ! Thou 
inowest, O Lord, it is a sealed book, till thou openest 
the seals thereof. Confer on me, I beseech thee, that 
teaching of thy Spirit that I may discern the deep truths, 
the glorious promises, and all the sacred mysteries which 
lead to close communion with thyself! That I may, in 
my measure, " comprehend with all saints, the length, 
and breadth, and depth, and height, of thy incomprehen- 
sible love !" 

Ma}*- 28. This morning I was led to look back on the 
mercies of my past life ; and I was amazed to see how in 
every part of it such tender love had been mixed with my 
crosses. When in my father's house, though I had many 
things to pass through which were trials and humiliations, 
yet when I could get into my own room I seemed to be 
quite comfortable, and had a continual sense that God 
would deliver me out of all when his time was come. 
When I was removed from my father's house, to my lit- 
tle lodging of two rooms at Hoxton, though really very 
inconvenient, it appeared as a most sweet asylum to me. 
When I took the little house on the road side, I thought 
it a palace ! And though there was much, very much, to 
ask forgiveness for in all those places, yet there were 
abundant blessings ; and I can recollect many messages 
from heaven in them all. I next removed to Lavton-stone 



PART VIII.] MRS - FLETCHER. 



409 



There I seemed in the land of Goshen : and though I can 
now look back and wonder how I stood under the galling 
crosses I had to encounter, yet at the time they often ap- 
peared swallowed up in mercies ! At Cross-Hall, in York- 
shire, I had many humiliations and cares, but I often 
thought that situation better than all the others, and that 
if the Lord would open me away to abide there, it would 
be a great favour. But O he had something better, far 
better, for me. He brought me, through fire and water, 
to this spot, — to Madely ; and of all my situations, none 
hath been equal to this. O the loving-kindness of my 
God! I remember in the year 1766, being from home, 
on a journey with Sister Ryan, and under very great trials, 
both outward and inward, as I was one day in prayer, 
those words were applied to me with a peculiar power, 
I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed 
on Carrnel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on 
Mount Ephraim and Gilead. At that time, and in those 
days, shall the iniquity of Israel be sought for, and there shall 
be none, and the sin of Judah, and it shall not be found, for 
I will pardon them whom I reserve. This was so deeply 
impressed on my mind, that when after some months ab- 
sence we returned home, I looked out (as well as I was 
able) the meaning of the words in the Hebrew Lexicon. 
I now repeat it here, being conscious, that at this very- 
time, I feel the beginning of the accomplishment. Out- 
wardly it is indeed made good. I am in a most peaceful 
habitation ; and some of the clusters of grapes from Ca- 
naan I do taste of, and sit as on the banks of Jordan, wait- 
ing to be brought over. 

August 10. At present I am under a particular exer- 
cise. Sometime ago I found my relations deeply laid on 
my mind, especially my dear brother William, and my 
brother's widow. I thought, I have not been faithful to 
them ; — and feared, as I had not seen them for twenty 
years, I never should see them again. I laid it before 
the Lord in earnest prayer. A circumstance occurred 



410 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

which gave me some encouragement. But how was I 
surprised when I received a letter that they were coming 
to see me ! They are now here ! My soul is drawn out 
much in their hehalf. Lord, I look unto thee, be thou my 
helper, and enable me to confess thee faithfully before 
men, that I may not have the blood of souls found upon 
me ! 

24. Glory be to God, I have found him very gracious 
indeed. All has been as I could have wished, and 1 had 
freedom and comfort in our different interviews. I saw 
the hand of the Lord in every circumstance. O what a 
Saviour have I ! Since that time some trials have occur- 
red which has affected my health. I feel a great inward 
sinking, and, by various symptoms, it seems that the Lord 
is reminding me the hour is not far off. O my adorable 
Saviour, give me but to glorify thee to the last moment, 
to feel my whole will lost in thine ! 

September 12. Lord, appear in my behalf! I feel 
my body grow very feeble, and I want a fuller baptism of 
thy Spirit. My confidence is all in Thee ; but I want to 
feel an intimate close communion. Once I should have 
been well pleased with what I at present feel, but when 
death seems very near, there needs a peculiar smile of 
the Lord to carry the soul triumphantly through the suf- 
ferings of that season. Indeed there are moments when 
he doth assure me, As my day my strength shall he; and 
of late I have found such help in times of trial that I am 
greatly encouraged. This day I am seventy years old. 
Ah ! my Lord, how little have I done for thee in seventy 
years ! But I look to mere mercy. My hope is in the 
Saviour ! I have nothing to plead. 

September 19. Last night I was restless and disturbed, 
and as I lay awake I thought, Is not God my strongest de- 
sire ? What would now give me the most pleasure ? My 
heart answered, '• A smile from my Lord." I then 
thought of heaven, and considered myself as afresh united 
to my dear husband, my Sally, and my friend Ryan. The 
thought was pleasing, and raised gratitude in my heart. 



PART VIII.] *1R S - FLETCHER. J* 11 

But Avhen I turned my thoughts to a sight of, and union 
■with, my Saviour. — O how superior a spring of joy did 
I feel ! I think I can truly say,—" Whom have I in hea- 
ven but Thee ? and there is none upon earth I desire in 
comparison of Thee !" But, Lord, I am not satisfied. 
Ah, no ; I want such a possession of thy love, — such an 
intimate union, as every moment to feel thy approving 
smile ! 

November 12. Twenty-eight years this day, and at 
this hour, I gave my hand and heart to John William De 
la Flechere. A profitable and blessed period of my life. 
I feel, at this moment, a more tender affection towards 
him than I did at that time, and by faith I now join my 
hand afresh with his. My Sally, and my friend Ryan too, 
— We are one in Jesus. O that I may follow them as 
they followed Christ ! 

January 6, 1810. Glory be to thee, my precious Sa- 
viour, for the great mercies I have received the last year ! 
O how many striking answers to prayer ! I feel also an 
increase of faith, and begin this year with a more firm 
confidence in thy faithful promises." Yes, my gracious 
Lord, I abandon all, all into thy hand, both for time and 
eternity. I have been reading again that excellent work 
of my dear husband, "The Portrait of St. Paul." I had 
not read it for many years, but, O how sweet did I find it ! 
It is amazing that it should be so clear and perfect as it is, 
when I consider what he said to me about it, — That it was 
a rough draught, wrote in his illness, when abroad ; and 
which he intended to write all over again, and to improve, 
had he been spared to do it. I felt a sweet unction as I 
read it, and am very glad it is taken into the 9th vol. of 
his works. 

February 11. I have been ill for about two months, 
with a complaint on my lungs, but was enabled to keep to 
all the meetings till Tuesday last, when I grew much 
worse. My breath is exceeding short, and the cough 
very severe. By the expectoration it appears to be such 
a consumption as old people have. I am. glad I have had 



412 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

these opportunities with the dear people, though, per- 
haps I have suffered by it. The Lord has been very 
present with us of late. Those words have been much 
on my mind, " Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and 
there is none on earth I desire in comparison of Thee." 
I feel no care about my body, only that I may do and 
suffer all the will of God, as a Christian ;— that " patience 
may have its perfect work." 

February 25. 1 still remain ill, though something 
better ; and it is a great addition to the trial, that my 
dear friend, and kind nurse, Miss Tooth, appears to have 
a consumptive disorder. This morning I was laying all 
before the Lord, and felt a desire to try myself in every 
point of sacrifice. I felt his will above all. — Afterward 
that word bore on my mind, " Stand still and see the 
salvation of God." 

April 27. Yesterday was a day of trial, as to outward 
things ; but in the morning those words were in a peculiar 
manner laid on my mind, — " Commit thy way unto the 
Lord, trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass." — 
I did not understand what it meant at first ; but before 
night it was explained. 

O my faithful God, thou knowest all that can approach 
thy children ; and thy guardian care prevents our trials 
by a call to a fresh trust in Thee ! Many scenes of 
suffering appear before me. My left breast I am told is 
again likely to prove cancerous ; but I lie still in the 
hand of the Lord. 

May 6. As I was rising this morning, Mr. Grimshaw's 
advice came to my mind. " At your first awaking spend 
half an hour on five things. First, return thanks for the 
mercies of the night. Second, pray for a blessing on the 
new day. Third, examine the state of your heart. 
Fourth, meditate on some spiritual subject. Fifth, lay a 
plan for your employment of the day." I felt my heart 
drawn to praise, and to entreat protecting mercy, and 
spiritual guidance, for the ensuing day, and felt my 
petition was heard. Then I looked up for a spiritual 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 413 

subject of meditation. Immediately it occurred, — " I go 
to prepare a place for you." Then, — " I am the way, 
the truth, and the life." I felt it a profitable time. 

September 6. The other day Brother Tranter 
preached in my room very profitably, and told us after- 
ward a remarkable answer to prayer. Mr. R. Crowther 
and his wife were going to their circuit in a borrowed 
gig. They came to the house of a pious man and 
woman, accustomed to receive the messengers of Jesus 
Christ. Having no place for the gig, it stood out. There 
were some persecuting spirits in the place. In the 
night, the man and his wife found they could not sleep, 
and said one to another, I feel a great weight on my 
mind, — perhaps some hurt is doing to the gig. They 
got up and went out. They found one wheel was gone. 
They looked all about, but could not find it. They 
returned into the house and went to prayer, laying before 
the Lord the difficulty Mr. Crowther would be in. At 
last one of them said, It comes to my mind they have 
carried it to such a place, (about two miles off,) and 
thrown it into the swamp. The other said, Let us go 
and see. About one o'clock tbey set off. When the}' 
came to the place, which was full of water and mud, and 
covered with rushes, they looked about, but could see 
nothing of the wheel. They then saw a large stick ; 
upon which the man said, perhaps on this stick they 
carried it ; — let us try again. He then took up the stick 
and groped in the mud. Presently he felt the wheel. 
They got it out, brought it home, and put it on the gig. 
So when Mr. and Mrs. Cowther got up, the gig was 
ready for them to set off. How true is that word, " Call 
upon me in the time of trouble, so will I hear thee, and 
thou shalt glorify me." 

September 12. At eight o'clock this morning 1 was 
solemnly struck with ths thought, — I am, r ic this hour, 
(the time I have been told I was born,) seventy-one 
vears of age,-— I was, as I have been told, in great dangc*: 

35.* 



414 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

of death, from my tongue being tied, and much bleeding 
ensued from having it cut. It was thought I should be 
dumb. But thou, O Lord! saw good to give me my 
speech. Ah, Lord, how have I used that great talent ? 
How often have I abused thy goodness, and oifendedwith 
my tongue < I feel an earnest cry for a full and perfect 
devotedness of soul to thee ; and my faith seems to be 
increased in the belief I shall be so. While speaking on 
Monday night, in a very full meeting, the Lord was very 
present, and I saw such a great salvation before me as I 
cannot express. And has my Saviour bore all the curse ? 
And has betaken our nature into the Godhead ? 0,what 
may we not expect ? Lord, enlarge my faith ! 

November 24. Since I last wrote, I have seen much 
of the goodness of the Lord. What an answer of prayer is 
the amendment of Miss Tooth ! My gracious Lord would 
not give me sorrow upon sorrow. O, how good it is to 
stand still and see his salvation! This summer 1 have 
been better in health than for some years, and have 
found much of his presence in the work of God. 

On the 12th of this month, the day of renewed dedica- 
tion of myself to God, I felt a blessing in the remem- 
brance of the precious gift given me twenty-nine years 
ago. O what a train of good things have sprung there- 
from ! O my Lord, none but thyself can know what an 
advantage I have drawn from that union ! O that my 
dear husband's prayers may be fully answered in me-, 
that I may become the habitation of God through the Spirit! 
December 18. Being ill, I could not go out, but 
prayed, if the Lord saw it good, that I might have strength 
for Sunday noon, and Monday night, the times when we 
have large congregations— and, blessed be his name ! I 
have had hitherto the answer to my prayer. I felt, this 
morning, very lame in my knees, but yet able to walk 
about, and, in the room last night, the Lord was with 
me, and brought me comfortably through. 

January 7, 1811. And do I see another year ! O my 
*rod r mav I live this year as I have never yet done ! I have 



PART VIII-] MRS. FLETCHER, 415 

had, for six weeks, a return of my winter cough, but 
have been enabled to go out on Sunday noon, and Monday 
night, as usual. Blessed be the Lord for that indulgence ? 
Never did eternity appear so near. I feel its importance ; 
but O, I want it to drink up every thought, and fill up 
every moment. 

January 14. The complaint on my lungs grows worse, 
I seem to be going fast. Saturday and yesterday were 
days of recollection, blessed be God ! I went out yes- 
terday at noon, and had a comfortable time with the dear 
people. I read and spoke an hour. The subject was, 
Jacob blessing his sons. I seemed to be no worse, and 
on my return had a tolerable night ; but this morning I 
feel my breath much affected, and my strength seems to 
go fast. Eternity looks very sweet, yet I have fiery darts. 
I long for a clearer view — but I praise the Lord for 
more constant power to obey that command, Pray without 
ceasing. 

February 9. Those words seem to dwell mightily on 
my mind, " Praying always, and watching thereunto with 
all perseverance." Lord, give me the power this day ! 
Let my spirit every moment be looking out for thee, as 
the watchman for the morning. The Lord has been 
drawing my soul nearer to himself for some days. O, 
how my soul longs to be wholly lost in God ! This day 
I have been greatly humbled under a sense of the little 
progress I have made, seeing my lot hath been cast with 
the most excellent of the earth. 

May 25. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all 
his benefits ! I am surrounded with mercies. Sure none 
ever had more cause for thankfulness. O that my heart 
could overflow with praise in proportion thereto ! O my 
Saviour, purify my soul unto thyself! I know thou hast 
all power. The other day, as a useless thought occurred 
to my mind, 1 felt that word with a solemn weight, — The 
place where his honour dwelleth. It called me back in a 
moment, with that idea, that my soul is the place where 
his honour ought to dwell. It is a great thing to keep 



416 THE LIFE OF [PART Vni. 

the heart with all diligence from the dangerous avenue of 
the imagination. My soul doth rejoice over some who 
have been brought in of late. One young man, who was 
very wicked, came to one of the meetings ; and hearing 
Miss Tooth observe, " We must have that faith which 
brings purity of heart, and power over sin," he thought, 
I am sure I have no such faith. — From that hour the 
Lord began to work on his soul. The conviction was 
deep, and his wife, his father and mother, and a cousin, 
were stirred up through him, and are all now members 
of the Society. Glory be to God, he continues all athirst 
both for his own soul and others. " Every moment, Lord, 
1 also need the merit of thy death." 

July 3. O how faithful is God! None ever trusted 
in him and was confounded. Much of his loving-kindness 
have I seen of late in the times of united worship. Yes, 
my adorable Lord, thou hast helped thy poor creature, 
and given me to feel the words which I spoke. Several 
have been blest, and most sweetly brought into pure love,, 
and an awakening seems to spread among believers to 
press forward, and seek the rest which remains for the 
children of God. 

August 14. What did I feel this day twenty-six years, 
when at the dying bed of my beloved husband ! And 
what have I gone through since that time ! Well, it hath 
been all for good. I have needed every bitter cup I 
have had to drink ; but what mercies have I also re- 
ceived ! What tender care hath my almighty and loving 
Redeemer shown in my behalf! That word hath indeed 
been fulfilled, Jl judge of the zvidow is God in his holy 
habitation. But I might have grown much more than 1 
have. O my Saviour, show me how it is now with my 
soul ! Blessed be the name of the Lord, I feel my con- 
science more and more tender, and a greater power to 
embrace the cross, and to keep in the presence of God. 
It is a season of trial, but I expect much spiritual good 
to arise therefrom. I long to be lost and swallowed up 
in God. 



PART 



VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 417 



September 12. Glory be to thee, my gracious Re- 
deemer, who hast preserved me seventy-two years ! I 
have been for some time very poorly with the complaint 
on my lungs, and one day as I was sitting in the study, 
thinking what I might have to go through, I felt applied 
to my mind a word my dear husband spoke to me, — 
" Thou shalt not suffer long," then he added, " Hope to 
the end, in Jesus hope ; — you cannot fail if God is love." 
My heart answered, God is love, and I shall prove his 
faithfulness, whatever I have to go through. Blessed be 
God, I am still enabled to keep up my meetings, though 
with labour, and we have much of the presence of God. 
We have now got three new preachers on the circuit 
Lord, make their word powerful ! We have prayed 
much for them. 

September 19. Last night in my sleep that word was 
spoken to me, None shall pluck thee out of my Fathers 
hand. I did not wake, but in my sleep made reflections 
on it. O my precious Lord, thou art gracious, but I long 
for a closer union with thee ! My breath is very short 
on the least motion ; and yet I can go up and down to 
the meetings, blessed be God ! We have been reading 
in the family of late an account of the martyrs. O how 
I admired the power of God in them ! Lord, how poor 
a disciple am I, ready to shrink at a little suffering ! O 
Lord, increase my faith ! Last night I was uncommonly 
ill ; — but as I lay quiet, it was spoke as if to both ear and 
heart, " Give to the winds thy fears." Then followed 
the whole verse, with great power : 

" Give to the winds thy fears, 
Hop.? and be undismay'd, 
God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears, 
God shall lift up thy head." 

October 16. To-day in reading the 1st and 2d chap- 
ters of Deuteronomy, where Moses bids them trust in 
the Lord who had done such wonders for them in Egypt, 
and in the wilderness, &c. I was led to look back through 
mv past life, and consider the tender care the Lord hatlt 



418 THE LIFE OF [PART Vjli. 

taken of me, even to this hour, yea in the smallest things, 
as well as in the greatest. O what wonders I could 
relate ! O my precious Lord, increase my faith and love, 
I pray thee, abundantly ! I see eternity very near. 
Lord, open my eyes to a clearer view of that blessed 
world ! 

November 22. Solemn thoughts the 12th of this 
month rested on my mind, and also great thankfulness. 
Blessed be God for that sweet and gracious union com- 
menced with my dear husband thirty years ago, and 
eternally to last. My asthmatic disorder increases, and 
sometimes in the meetings I feel much difficulty. Well, 
all is right. Thy will, O my precious Saviour ! is all. I 
feel a pain in the thought of giving up the Sunday noon, 
and Monday night meetings. If the Lord would be 
pleased to give me strength for these seasons, I should 
be thankful. I wish to give my last breath to the dear 
people of God. 

December 27. O my soul, why dost thou not praise 

the Lord in a more abundant manner ! Surely i am in 

a land flowing with milk and honey. Last night, when 

uncommonly ill with my asthma, I was obliged to sit up 

in my bed a good while, and it seemed as if my breath 

would stop ; O how gracious was the Lord ! I felt such 

a sense of quiet safety as I cannot express ! I thought, 

what a mercy is a good bed — a fire in my room — while 

many poor creatures are starving with cold this hard frost ! 

A kind friend in the next bed, who will attend my call ; 

and, above all, a God of love to trust in ! I said, Lord, 

speak to me !— Immediately that word passed through 

my mind, 

" Jesus doth my burden bare, 
Jesus takes my ev'ry care." 

I thought of the great and amazing transaction com- 
memorated at this season, and foretold for four thou- 
sand years ! Truly " the secret of the Lord is with 
those who fear him." While the Jews expected him 
to come in great pomp, he came as a babe in the man- 



PART VIII. j MRS. FLETCHER, 419 

ger, quite concealed and unknown, except to a few ' 
Here is a lesson ! Some even now can find no comfort, 
except in something great, even in religion ! How 
often have I been thus deceived ! But now I see in 
another light. We are to lay hold on the smallest en- 
couragement ; we are to accept a crumb, — and by look- 
ing in the word, and feeding on it, the power follows. 
As he says, " Incline thine ear, hear, and thy soul shall 
live!" 

January 1, 1812. Lord, let me begin this year with 
Thee ! I have cause to praise the Lord for a good night, 
and am much better since I have kept in the house. 
But, O my Lord, wilt thou give me once more to go 
out among the dear people ? Well, " Thy will be 
done !" all is right that thy providence ordains. On the 
5th of this month I shall have been thirty yeara in this 
house. That promise, given me at Bath, comes strongly 
to my mind, " I will bring Israel again to her own ha- 
bitation." Truly the Lord hath done so. I have drunk 
a bitter cup in losing my dear husband, yet I am so filled 
with blessings, and have such comforts and helps, that I 
may say no kind of good is withheld from me. I have 
also communion with my friends above ; — a little while 
and we shall meet to part no more. O my God, I be- 
seech thee, let me live this year, if spared, as I have 
never yet done ! 

February 6. Many mevcies I have seen in the month 
past. Though I have not got my voice yet sufficiently 
for the meetings, yet the Lord hath given us such helpers, 
that all has been kept up with advantage. Glory be to his 
name ! We are very comfortable with our preachers ; 
they are so kind and friendly, we are quite of one heart, 
and the work prospers. I have had of late a deeper view 
into the mystery of redemption, and felt much power in 
that word, — " He appeared to put away sin by the sacri- 
fice of himself." 

June 19. The dear people so flock to us that my 
room will scarcely hold them, though we consider it a* 



420 THE LIFE OP [PART VIIL 

holding three hundred, and the Lord hath been very 
present indeed. I was so recovered as to get out in 
March, and enabled ever since to attend the meetings. 
I have a prospect of great sufferings before me, but I 
hang upon the will of my God, assured that " the suffer- 
ings of the present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory that shall be revealed." One great an- 
swer to prayer I must mention. A gay young lady, whom 
I knew from a child, it pleased the Lord to afflict. She 
was deeply awakened, and cried out, " O how I shud- 
der to look back on my past life !" In this state the Lord 
manifested his mercy, and for some months she went on 
most sweetly. At her death, after bearing extreme suf- 
ferings with a lamblike patience, she said, " My pain is 
exceedingly great, but it is not hell ; and that I have 
richly deserved." Soon after she told her aunt, " I 
have had a great conflict both in soul and body. I am 
just going." — Then she added, " O I am so happy!" 
and immediately departed. 

August 14. This is always a solemn day. Seven 
and twenty years hath my beloved husband been in 
glory. O what heights of holiness may he have at- 
tained ! Lord, whal have I gained in this long season ? 
I might have attained to much more than I have, but, 
blessed be the Lord, I do feel an increase ; and my 
spirit pants after the " fulness of God." I find stronger 
faith ; — I am filled with blessings ! I see the hand of God 
in all ; and such answers to prayer as amazes me ! My 
body is full of infirmities, yet I am able to creep through 
each day, and to work a little in my Lord's vineyard. 
Truly, my last days are my best. 

September 12. I have, this day, reached my seven- 
ty-third year, and I feel a strong desire that this may 
be a birthday to my soul. I have such a sense of a 
full blessing purchased for me, with such a near ap- 
proach to God, that I long to attain it. I wait at the 
feet of my dear Saviour for a fuller display of his love. 

November 12. It is thirty-one years this day, since I 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 421 

was united to my dear husband. blessed union ! 
What cause have I of praise for that providence ! It 
seems but yesterday, and he is as near and dear as ever. 
I cannot see to write half what I feel in my heart ; 
but I will add, — my cup overflows with mercy, glory be 
to God! 

January, 1813. And now another year is gone, and I 
see the beginning of a new one. I feel an increase 
of faith within this last day or two ; some refreshing 
beams of glory now and then have touched my soul. O 
for a deeper draught ! 

*' From Sion's top the breezes blow, 
And cheer us in the vale below." 

February 20. I have read with much pleasure the 
account of the work of God in India. I praise the Lord 
for that excellent man, Professor Francke. It was 
from his college several of the Missionaries went to 
India, and, among others, that great instrument, Mr. 
Swartes. Glory be to God, who hath raised up these 
" Angels of the churches." Every look at them makes 
me shrink into nothing. Yet we may be permitted to 
follow them with our prayers. Lord, increase the num- 
ber of such men ! Bless their endeavours, and fill them 
with thy spirit !* 

April 20. Since I wrote last, on March the third my 
dear brother William died. We were four in number, 
and I am now left alone. But I have cause to believe 
he is in glory. He hath been a kind brother to me ; and 
referring to the extraordinary communication of Mrs. 
Clapham,| I feel a desire to explain in what a singular 
manner the whole has been fulfilled. When I married 
he sent me one hundred pounds as a wedding present. 
After the death of my dear husband, he came down to 

* No doubt many pious persons, as well as Mrs. Fletcher; have thus 
prayed. How evidently are those prayers answered in the present day ! Erf. 

+ See Faje 161. 
36 



422 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

me, and with the greatest tenderness and affection 
brought me forty pounds. Some time after, my uncle 
Claudius Bosanquet died, and left each of my brothers 
eighteen thousand pounds, and several of his nephews 
and nieces five hundred each : but neither my sister, 
nor myself were mentioned. My brother William at 
that time divided one of his thousands between us. This 
was a great help, as I had some money still to pay off. 
Since that time he hath helped me yearly for my poor's 
expenses, — and, for some time, has given me forty 
pounds a year. At this time of distress, when trade is 
so low, and the poor so straitened, this loss would have 
been a great one ; but he hath left me two thousand 
pounds, so that my income, instead of decreasing, will be 
enlarged. I cannot reflect on this circumstance but 
with wonder and praise. When Mrs. Clapham told me, 
about a fortnight before we married, of these great helps, 
I declare I did not expect one penny. O how exactly 
has all come to pa'-a ! I remember she said, that the last 
sum that she saw laid down was much larger than any 
before. How often has my heart cried to the Lord that 
he would restore him an hundred-fold ! I trust it is so. 
I have a strong confidence his cup is full in glory. 

April 30. I feel the presence of the Saviour, and trust 
to enter more deeply than ever into him as my centre. 
Reflecting on my past mercies and present situation, I 
am struck with amazement at the loving-kindness of the 
Lord. Never was I more comfortable than now ! Though 
I have so many infirmities, yet I have such a measure of 
health as renders life quite easy. Good nights, sufficient 
appetite, and a degree of strength, at times quite easy ; 
and sweet liberty in the meetings. No burden with my 
family, — my friend Mary Tooth manages all. My confi- 
dence is all in thee, thou mighty Lord of all ! I feel thee 
drawing nearer and nearer to my soul. The wound in 
my breast, occasioned by the lump which had formed, 
•outs mp afresh in mind of eternity. But, O how sweet- 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 423 

Jy dost thou support me under it ! I am enabled to gt 
through all my meetings, and have but very little pain. 
Yesterday that verse of the hymn was sweetly applied 
to my heart, 

" Abundant sweetness ! While I sing- 
Thy love my ravish'd soul o'eflows ; 
Secure in thee, my God and King, 
Of glory which no period knows." — 

September 3. On the 14th of August I felt C ep im 
pressions of that most awful event, the death of my dear 
husband. But the renewed scene will, I trust, soon end 
in joyous days. 

January, 1814. I have been much disturbed almuM 
all night. My asthma was oppressive, and 1 had much 
fever. My head also was confused, but those word? 
came powerfully to my mind, 

" Sweet is thy voice, iriy Spouse, to me, 
J will behold no spot in tin e . 
What mighty wonders love performs, 
That puts a comeliness on worms !" 

May 7. For some time the wound in my breast ha< 
been better, though it was thought, in January, that 1 
should not live many days : and my breath t£ now more 
«%asy, especially in the night. I leave all in thy dear 
hand, my adorable Lord, and only long for a deeper 
plunge into God. 

May 20. Reflecting on past mercies 1 find abundant 
cause for praise. I am surrounded with loving-kindness ; 
but mv strei? h and sight seem to fail. I am waiting for 
ii closer union with my dear Lord. Though so weak in 
[tody, I feel a desire to praise thee, my adorable Lord, 
for thy abundant mercies. O, my gracious Lord, I do 
feel great cause of praise ! How many have I seen of my 
near relations who have suffered much in illness through 
want of wisdom, or tender care, in those about them ! 
But I am favoured above all. O the wonderful care 
Providence hath ever had over me ! What snares he 



424 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

hath saved me from ! What dangers preserved me in, 
and what promises have I seen fulfilled ! I have every 
thing 1 can want. O, my God, give me a watchful spirit, 
that I may not speak one word amiss ! Above all, answer 
that prayer, " Let no vain thoughts lodge within me !" 
Give me, from this hour, a mind continually fixed on 
thee, never more to be drawn out of its centre ! 

July 1. How tenderly the Lord deals with me ! I 
am verv weak, and yet am oft five times in a week able 
to be in my meetings, and I have strength to speak so 
that all may hear, and the Lord is very present with us. 
Lord, fill my soul with abundant praise ! 

Sunday, August 15. Yesterday, the 14th, was a 
solemn day to me. It is now twenty-nine years since 
my beloved went to glory. I am led to cry for a closer 
union with my Saviour. I feel his spirit working in me ; 
but it is a season of trial. That word is much with me, 
Pray without ceasing. 

22. Yesterday I had encouragement from the Lord, 
and lay down in his presence. In the night, while 
asleep, those words came with power,— my heart seemed 
to speak them, 

" Him eye to eye I soon shall see, 
My face like his shall shine ! 
O, what a glorious company, 
Where saints and angels join !" 

1 see more and more what a fulness there is in the Sa- 
viour. O, my God, let me be wholly lost in thee ! 

September 12. Seventy-five years ag^I was born. 
O, my gracious Saviour, what great grace might I have 
gained in seventy-five years ! I turn me to that blood 
which makes the sinner whole. I have, of late, had a 
view now and then as if the door of holiness was open, 
and the word spoke in my heart, " Believe and possess 
to the uttermost." Lord, give the power ! 

November 3. On Saturday I was very ill, and thought 
death drew near. Since that time I have found a deeper 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 42, r i 

work in my soul. The Lord seems to lay to his hand. 
O, my Jesus, fill me with thy spirit ! I long to be all thhir 
own. 

24. The Lord is very good to me. I have found a 
clearer sense of his presence, and much answer to prayer. 

1 feel as clay before the potter. On the 12th of this 
month I had a clear remembrance of the solemn scene of 
the union with my precious husband, and felt it was for 
eternity. What a favour do I also possess in my friend 
Tooth ! The Lord has made her every thing to me that 

1 need. Dear Mrs. Gilpin's death seems to brijsg me 
nearer to eternity. How little did I think she would be 
railed first ! Lord, prepare me, and fill me with thyself! 
F am still able to be out twice on Sunday, though the cold 
weather has much effect on my breath ; yet last night 
and to-day I am a good deal relieved. 

December 12. I have had severe pain for a fortnight, 
vet mixed with much mercy. I thought I was near 
death. Yesterday I had an uncommon sense of the pre- 
sence of God, and those words were much with me " My 
peace I leave with thee ;" and again,—" If ye abide in 
me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye 
will, and it shall be done unto you." I felt it good to 
look into eternity, though in much pain. 

Monday, January 2, 1815. The Sabbath yesterday 
was precious to me. O I long that the year Fifteen 
may be the best of all my life. Should I live a part of it, 
may that part bring heaven into my soul. Those words 
have been sweet to me, " 1 will heal their backsliding I 
will love them freely." Looking back on my past life, 
and seeing so many blunders, I felt a weight, — when the 
words above were spoken to my heart. Yes, my pre- 
cious Saviour, thou dost love me freely. O that I were 
more filled with thy love ! The wound in my breast U 
much less, and I am much better; and, blessed be mv 
God! I feel nearer to him than last year. O for a 
fuller gale from Sion's hill ! 



426 THE LIFE OP [PART VIII. 

March 21. I have had pain last night, but not so vio- 
lent as it might have been. Towards morning I got some 
sleep, and awoke with these words, which came with 
power, 

" Give to the winds thy fears, 
Hope, and be undismay'd; 
God hears thy cries and counts thy tears, 
He shall lift up thy head." 

May 29th. Glory be to God, I am full of mercies ! I 
long for a more full union. I am far better in body also 
than I'could have thought ; yet I see myself on the very 
verge of eternity, and long for a full and perfect oneness 
with my Saviour. I know he doth bless me, and I cast 
my whole soul, with every power, on my Lord. O it is 
sweet to have my will fully sunk in the will of my God. 

August 3. I have had some trials, with regard to out- 
ward affairs ; but I have a full confidence all shall end 
well. We have had for thirty years a oneness among our 
people ; — but now there is a division, by the desire of 
the minister. It hurts me ; yet, I believe the Lord will 
order all. But I here declare, I have been joined to the 
people united to Mr. Wesley for above threescore years, 
and I trust to die among them. The life of true religion 
is with them, and the work increases. If my papers fall 
into any hands, 1 entreat these lines may never be left 
out.* I have always considered myself as a member of 

* I should have greatly rejoiced if I had been left at the same liberty re- 
specting this painful passage, as the other parts of Mrs. Fletcher's writings. 
But her mind seems to have been deeply impressed with the occurrence, 
and hence the injunction is absolute. Being thus obliged to insert the 
change which was at this time made in the parish of Madely, (by the cu- 
rate not choosing to act among the people as his predecessors had done,) 
a duty seems to lie upon me to elucidate the cause of it in the best manner 
I am able ; — and this I hope to do with all the tenderness that truth will al- 
low. — Two letters, written by Mrs. Fletcher to the gentleman who suc- 
ceeded Mr. Home as curate of Madely, will, I think, sufficiently explain it. 

" Madely, March 26, 1792. 
" Rev. Sir, 

" Your letter to Mr. H, was not Seen by me till 
yesterday, or I should have answered before. 



PART VIII.] MR S - FLETCHER. 427 

the church, and so have the united friends in Madely. 
In some measure we are now pushed out. O let not one 
word of this be left out. What I mean by being pushed 
ou t is, — The church minister has repeatedly expressed a 

" In order to draw what I have to say into the compass of one sheet of 
paper, I will divide it into three heads. First, The reason why J address 
you, instead of the vicar ; — Secondly, The temporal affairs of the parish ; 
—and, Thirdly, The state of the people, as to religion. 

" First, I must observe, after the death of my dear husband, (whose un- 
wearied labours, and unexampled meekness, had left on the minds of the 
people the keenest conviction of their loss,) the mantle seemed to fall on a 
young gentleman, named Home, (at that time one of the preachers on the 
circuit) whom my dear husband had before mentioned as the man he wish- 
ed to be his successor. There were great difficulties in the way ; he how- 
ever did take his place, and continued with us between five and six years. 
But the Lord, who holds the stars in his right hand, saw good to call him 
to Africa. The departure of Mr. and Mrs. Home was a great loss to me, 
because in every thing we acted mutually. The orphans of my beloved 
partner were dear to me, and I to them ; and Mr. Home considered them 
as consigned to his care by a man whom he esteemed above all others. 
But the Lord has been pleased to part us ; and, ai we love his will, we 
cheerfully say, Let it in all things be done. When he left us, Mr. Burton, 
the vicar, a mild, sweet tempered man, desired the religious part of the 
parish to please themselves in the choice of a curate. When I informed 
him the other day, that after having sought after several, we had been dis- 
appointed; he replied, ' I am sorry for it. I had rather that Mrs. Fletcher 
would choose one, (though I have many applications) for she knows the 
mind of the parish better than I do : and whoever she recommends, I will 
accept.' On that account it is, Sir, that lam the person to address you. 
Secondly, — As to the temporal affairs, — Our church is far too small for the 
inhabitants, and yet so awkwardly built, that it requires a very good voice 
to be heard in it. It is however proposed to erect a larger, about a mile off, 
as this is near falling down. That will be more in the centre of the parish, 
and more commodious.— As to the third head,— Those who are religious 
in the parish, as well as those who attend from more distant places, are a 
simple quiet people, all of one mind. They know nothing of dispute, nor 
think of any jarring doctrine. The dove-like spirit of my precious husband 
rests much on his flock, and they receive, as from heaven, every messenger 
who comes unto them. As to the service or duty required,— You may do 
what you will here. Every thing good goes down at Madely, if it has but 
unction. My dear husband and Mr. Home, used to go through the whole 
service at church morning and afternoon, and then preach at the DaJe, or 
the Wood, the two other ends of the parish, at night. By that means they 
saw many who did not come to the church ; and at church there are many 
who never hear elsewhere. 

" I think I have now given you as full an answer as I am able ; — but 
I must beg an immediate reply, as there are several curates waiting for 



428 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

wish that the Methodists should be a separate people ; 
as he always thought it best for the church people, 
and the people called Methodists, to move in distinct 
lines. 

theirs, — and we are quite unsettled. And, please to be clear in your 
answer when you can come. I should rejoice to see a Gospel ministry 
fixed here before my death. 

" That the Lord may direct you with clear light, and give both you and 
your partner to discern your way before you, is the prayer of, 
" Rev. Sir, 

" Your friend and servant, 

" M. FLETCHER." 

It appears, that soon after this gentleman came to the parish, he became 
uneasy about his situation. Having expressed his dissatisfaction to Mrs_ 
Fletcher, she wrote to him the following letter. 

" My dear friend, 

" Since our conversation the other morning, 
some thoughts have arisen in my mind which I believe will not be unac- 
ceptable to you. You will not reject a word of advice even from an inferior. 

" I am pesuaded you, will clear me from the idea of having deceived you 
in any thing. I told you, on your first visit to my house, we were joined 
to that body of people called Methodists, and asked, Are you willing to 
labour among a company of Methodists ? To which you answered in the 
affirmative. This gave me a convincing proof it was not your own but 
God's honour you were seeking. This also engaged the hearts of (he 
serious part of the parish towards you, and caused them to receive you 
with open arms, as one who would walk in the steps of your worthy pre- 
decessor. Now I would observe,— should such a thought be suggested, 
that it would be better for them to leave that connexion, (under which 
several have been called) and consider themselves as only belonging to 
vou; — if 7 1 say, such a proposal was to be made, might it not be the means 
of sowing the first seeds of division ever known in Madely ? This, I am 
sure, would be very painful to you. — I do not believe you meant to do so : 
—but I lay these thoughts before you as an antidote to such a temptation, 
should it ever arise. 

" Should that people, among whom, at present, the Lord so eminently 
works — should they decline from the pure worship of God,— in that case, 
the parish would naturally cleave to you. But while the Lord does carry 
on his work among them, let us be found with God and his people ; " Yea, 
let us meet them with bread and with water in the way." 

" Some years ago, a gentleman, whom I well knew and loved, settled 
in a parish a few miles from where I lived. I believe there were about a 
hundred Methodists in the place. They were delighted with him, and 
all went on well,— till he proposed to dissolve the society and have only 
one of his own. The people in general consented ;— he applied to Mr. 
Wesley, and the preachers were withdrawn.— But, dear man, though he 
was an upright soul, he had not as good gifts for discipline as for preach- 



PART VIII.] MRS - FLETCHER. 4Z l J 

August 6. Blessed be the Lord, the work goes on, 
and I feel very thankful that the Lord has answered 
prayer in the appointment of our preachers. I do feel 
the Lord orders all. 

ing— he found much trouble and confusion arose. The people began to 
scatter. Another living then presented itself, which he accepted, to the 
^reat offence of those who had left their first path to follow him. After 
This, they who had been Methodists, wrote to Mr. Wesley, and got the 
preachers again; and, in a few years after, there were 1200 members in 
that society. 

" I acknowledge, dear sir, there may be some humiliation in thus acting 
in concert with others.— But is not humiliation the only way to exaltation ? 
Do we ever rise in the divine life, but in proportion as we sink? If the 
prophets of the Lord were sawn asunder, were stoned; if they wandered 
about in dens and caves of the earth— shall we start at a few trials which 
may, in a small degree, lay our honour in the dust, when the honour of our 
heavenly Father is advanced thereby ? I say again, should the Methodists 
decline, (which God forbid,) they would soon cast us off if we did not de- 
cline with-them. 

" When the people of this place have had, by some years experience, a 
full proof of your holy and close walk with God, the purity of your doc- 
trine, and the unchangeableness of your affection, that you have them in 
your heart to live and die with them ; they will then cleave to you with an 
undivided love, discerning that the Lord has said un*o you, Behold your 
children ; and in their hearts, Behold your Father. A great step towards 
this has already been taken on our side ; but as yet your mind has been far 
less settled than ours; and perhaps should we meet you with Jehu's salu- 
tation to Jehonadab, you could not freely give us your hand. But this 
does not discourage me. I impute it to the opposition of Satan, who sees 
you are in your right place and in your right order— as a stone now let into 
that very part of the building where God designs you to be ; and he would 
fain disorder the whole by throwing you out, either through discourage- 
ment, or by any other way. 

" Permit me 'to add, I am more and more convinced that you are the 
gift of God to us— to me in particular, an answer to my own prayer. I 
daily feel an encouraging union with both yourself, and Mrs. Walter. 1 
often boast to the preachers of the sweetness of your spirit, and the union ol 
your heart in the work. O let not my boasting be ever vain ; but when I 
close my eyes in Madely, let me have the satisfaction to behold from the 
upper world, that the dove-like spirit which so eminently reigned in my 
dear husband has dropped, as his mantle, upon you, and that it shines 
forth as a double portion. 

" Having an hour at command, I have freely opened my heart to you. 
Receive it as, perhaps, the dying advice of one who earnestly prays you 
may be filled with all the fulness of God."* 

* This letter, which is in Mrs. Fletcher's owa hand, has neither date nor signature 
rut it was evidently written not lcn£ after the former. £>'. 



430 THE LIFE OP [PART VIII. 

August 14. Thirty years, this day, I drank the bitter 
cup, and closed the eyes of my beloved husband ; and 
now I am myself in a dying state. Lord, prepare me ! I 
feel death very near. My soul doth wait and long to fly to 
the bosom of my God. Come, my adorable Saviour ! I 
lie at thy feet ; I long for all thy fulness ! Bless my dear 
and faithful friend. Keep her secure ; I long for the 
day when we shall all meet above. 

September 12. This day I am seventy-six years old, 
and the same day my dear husband would have been 
eio-hty-six. Surely we shall remember the scenes we 
have had together. But, O my God, give me power to 
cleave to thee every moment ! I feel the powers of 
darkness are vehemently striving to distract and hinder 
me. O my God and Father, enable me to walk in thy 
constant presence ! O Jesus, Jesus ! fill me with thy 
love, pour out thy spirit abundantly upon me, and make 
my heart thy constant home ! 

September 27. I am filled with mercies ; but I want 
to be filled with holiness. O show thy lovely face ! Draw 
me more close to thyself! I long, I wait, for a closer 
union. It is amazing under how many complaints I still 
jive ! But they are held by the hand of the Lord. On 
the Monday evenings I have had some power to read and 
speak at the Room, till the nights grew dark ; but on Sun- 
day noon I have yet liberty, though my eyes are so bad 
and sore. The Lord helps me wonderfully. In the class 
also, in the morning, the Lord doth help. O for entire 
holiness ! 

October 26. I have had a bad night ; but asking help 
of the Lord for closer communion, my precious Lord 

The result of this most affectionate and pious epistle was, that Mr. W. 
was fully delivered from his uneasiness, and for twent y-oue years laboured 
in the most affectionate and faithful manner, for the good of the parish, and 
in every part of it, to the great edification of the people. His excellent 
partner, who was closely connected with, and very dt-r to, Mrs. r Ittcher, 
died at Madely, in the full triumph of faith. See page 340. 

I am happy" to add, that the people, who were thus obliged to become a 
district body, have not separated from the church, bi-f <f>\\ attend the 
public service there. F.tf, 



PART VIII. j MRS « FLETCHER. 'iOI 

applied that word, / have borne thy sins in my own body on 
the tree. I felt his presence. I seem very near death ; 
but I long to fly into the arms of my beloved Lord. I 
feel his loving-kindness surrounds me. 

Mrs. Fletcher's Journal ends here. I believe she 
wrote no more. She died on the ninth day of the De- 
cember following. The particulars of her last illness, 
and of her departure, are supplied by Miss Tooth. I 
extract them from the short account which she published 
soon after the death of her venerable friend. 

FOR the last month of Mrs. Fletchers life, her breath 
was more oppressed than usual ; it had been much af- 
fected for some years, upon motion : yet when she sat 
still, or laid herself down at night, she could breathe 
quite easy. But in the middle of November, her breath- 
ing was affected both while she sat still, and when she 
was laid down. She had also a very troublesome cough. 
By these her strength quickly declined. She h?d had a 
wound for two years and three quarters in one *>ide of hev 
left breast, which was at first supposed to be a cancer : 
but her sufferings from this were not to be compared with 
what she suffered from difficulty of breathing. Yet she 
would speak to the people, though, as she said, " It is like 
as if every meeting would take away my life, but I will 
speak to them while I have any breath." 

One day, when her sufferings were great, she said, 
•'■ How sweet are the words of the apostle, " The suffer- 
ings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the 
glory that shall follow!" And on the 11th of Novem- 
ber she mentioned the divine aid she found in these 
words, " Call upon me in the time of trouble ; so will I 
hear thee, and thou shalt glorify me :" these words 
she frequently repeated, and sometimes would add, 
" Yes, my Lord, I will call upon thee ; and I shall glo- 
rify tli^e too," 



432 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

Another time she said, with peculiar energy, " They 
that trust in the Lord, shall never be confounded." She 
added also, with much animation in her countenance, 
" That promise given me so many years ago now comes 
with fresh power, ' Thou shalt walk with me in white.' 
And that also, ' I will throughly purge away thy dross, 
and take away thy tin.' " She added, 

" Everlasting life is won, 
Glory is on earth begun." 

On the 18th of November, she often repeated, with 
much animation, 

" I am thine, and thou art mine, 
A bond eternal hath us join'd." — 

Indeed the goodness of the Lord, and the great things 
that faith will do, were subjects on which she delighted 
to dwell. I have often heard her say, The particular 
commission the Lord had given her, was to encourage 
souls to believe : and herein she certainly was greatly 
blessed to many. 

On the 23d, she many times repeated these words, 
which, she said, came to her with unusual sweetness in 
the night, 

" Thy righteousness wearing, and cleans'd by thy blood, 
Bold shall I appear in the presence of God." 

All this day she had a great degree of fever upon her, 
yet she would sometimes say to me, " What were the 
sweet words the Lord gave me last night ?" As soon as 
I pronounced the first word, she would go on with the 
rest, and add, " I feel the power of them, though my 
head is so confused with this fever, that 1 could not im- 
mediately recollect them." 

On the 6th of December, while looking on me with 
the tenderest affection, she said, " My faithful friend, 
my dearest friend ; ten thousand blessings on her head.' 
She continued also to cry to God for a blessing upon 
several persons whom she mentioned ; and upon all her 
relations : though they were so far from her in body, 
they were to the last interested in her prayers ; and she 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 433 

would frequently plead with the Lord, that one day she 
mi«-ht meet them all in glory. From the beginning of 
December, she dozed much, whenever the cough, and 
the oppression upon her breath, would allow her any 
ease. This she often complained of, saying, " I lose my 
time ; I want every moment to be spent in prayer or 

praise." 

On the same day, when waking out of a doze, she said, 
" I am drawing near to glory ;" and soon after, " There 
is my house and portion fair ;" and again, " Jesus come, 
my hope of glory :" and, after a short pause, " He lifts 
his hands, and shows that I am graven there." The two 
following days were indeed days of love and praise. Airs. 
Perks and others visited her, upon whom she prayed the 
choicest blessings might descend. 

The day following, the 8th, her breathing was exceed- 
ingly difficult. In the morning she had walked into the 
other room, as usual, with only the help of my arm. In 
the middle of the day she wished to go into the chamber 
again, and I led her, as at other times ; but she was now 
weaker, and I could scarcely keep her from falling. I 
therefore asked her to sit down in a chair, which she did, 
and I wheeled her back again : with this she was much 
pleased, and said, the exercise had done her good. All 
the afternoon she was extremely ill, either hot to a great 
degree — shivering with cold — or very drowsy : but 
through all, her mouth was full of the loving-kindness of 
the Lord. 

At night, she said she would not go to bed till after ten 
o'clock. We prayed together before we went into the 
chamber ; but her breath being so greatly oppressed, 
she prayed but a short time. She then said, " Call upon 
the Lord." When I concluded, she said it was a very 
comfortable time ; and having heard in the afternoon, 
that Dr. Yonge, (who had always shown her the greatest 
attention,) was ill, she prayed particularly for him. 

When we were ready to go into the chamber, after ten 

37 



434 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII. 

o'clock, I got her into the chair, — but she was now- 
weaker than at noon. However I wheeled her to the 
bed side, and could not but look upon her as dying ; and 
indeed so she considered herself, for when in bed, she 
said, " My love, this is the last time I shall get into bed • 
it has been hard work to get in, but it is work I shall do 
no more. This oppression upon my breath cannot last 
long ; but all is well. The Lord will shower down ten 
thousand blessings upon thee, my tender nurse, my 
kind friend." 

After these and many more kind expressions to the 
same effect, she desired I would make haste to bed. I 
entreated her to let me sit up, repeatedly saying, " Do 
let me watch with you this one night :" but with all the 
tenderness imaginable, yet with that degree of firmness 
which made me unwilling to urge the request further, 
she said, " Go to bed ; you have done all for me you can 
do. You know you can be with me in a moment if I 
want you ; but if you sit up it will make me uncomfort- 
able. I cannot rest without you go to bed." After I 
had made all the excuses I could for remaining up, and 
looking upon her dear countenance as long as her kind 
concern for me would admit, she again urged my goin* 
to bed ; and I therefore laid me within the bed-clothes, 
without undressing. She then asked, "Are you in bed, 
my love ?" 1 answered, " Yes." She then said, " That's 
right, — now if I can rest, I will ; but let our hearts be 
united in prayer, and the Lord bless both thee and me !" 
These were the last words her beloved lips uttered ; 
for sonie time after this, about one o'clock in the mornm" 
of December 9th, the noise her breath had so long made, 
ceased. I thought, Is she dropped asleep ? It immedi- 
ately came to my mind, "Asleep in Jesus ! See a soul 
escaped to bliss." I went directly to her bed side, where 
I found the beloved body without the immortal spirit, 
which had entered the realms of endless day. My feel- 
ings are not to be described ; I clung to the casket of the 
saiat, I knelt, down by the side of it, and cried to Him 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 435 

who had just now called home the spirit 'of my friend, 
that some portion of her spirit might rest on me. At 
length I thought I should injure her dear remains, if I 
did not call the family up. I therefore went and called 
my sister and the servant, at half past one ; after which 
I sent for Mrs. Perks, who kindly came over immediately. 
I never left the chamber, while any thing eould be done 
for her : I had promised to be with her to the last, and 
the Lord enabled me so to do. 

Her countenance was as sweet a one as was ever seen 
in death. There was at the last neither sigh, groan, or 
struggle ; — and she had all the appearance of a person 
in the most composed slumber. When I first undrew the 
curtain, and saw her dear head dropped off the pillow, 
and looking so sweetly composed, 1 could not persuade 
myself the spirit was fled, till I took her in my arms, and 
found no motion left. I then perceived, the moment she 
had so much longed for, had arrived, — the happy moment 
when she should gain the blissful shore, and 

4C See the Lamb in glory stand, 
Encircled with his radiant band, 
And join the angelic pow'rs," 

'Veil, 

" AH that height of glorious bliss 
Her everlasting portion is, — 
And all that heaven is ours. 5 ' 



•Utavittw oil\e\' diorac-ie*. 



-IT is generally expected, that the memoirs of eminent 
persons should be accompanied with a view of their 
character, comprehending the several particulars wherein 
ihey differed from the generality of mankind, and so be- 
came conspicuous. This may be, in general, edifying, 
and certainly is not a difficult task ; but it seems to me 
not so easy, when the life of a real Christian (one who 
was truly such on the Scripture model) is given to the 
world. We do uot find that the inspired writers ever 
lake that way, although they had the greatest characters 
on earth to delineate, — even those of whom the world 
:vas not worthy. Mr. Wesley took high ground, when at 
Oxford, (as he informs us) he " determined to devote his 
whole life to God." Hence the world knew him not, 
because they knew not Him ■whom he served. His own 
works, especially the daily account of that whole life, thus 
devoted, and which is contained in his Journals, can alone 
describe the man ; and if warranted by Holy Scripture, 
—can alone show if indeed he kept that ground. Men 
mny bring their line and plummet, and take the guage of 
excellence, or the contrary, as they may be disposed : 
but the principle of action lies beyond their ken. " He 
that is spiritual, judgeth all things, yet he himself is 
judged of no man." 

The same may be said of Mrs. Fletcher. If she were 
only an eminent person, and even eminent in the church, 
it would be an easy task to display her character in the 
several points of view in which human attainments may 
be exhibited, so as to excite admiration, and stimulate the 
readers to an imitation of her various excellencies. But 
I find an awe upon my mind in contemplating the task 
which may thus be supposed to have fallen upon me ; 



PART Till.] THE LIFE OF MRS. FLETCHER. 437 

and I recur to what was said in the preface, — The Life 
of Mrs. Fletcher will not be considered as a common bio- 
graphy, but as an account of a work of the Spirit of God, 
That she greatly differed from the generality even of 
those who have been favoured like her, with eminent 
talents, and rich gifts of Providence, will not be denied 
by the most cursory reader of these memoirs. But " who 
made her to differ ? And what had she which she had 
not received ?" These questions we know were so re- 
ceived by her as to annihilate all glorying in the flesh. 
How deeply she felt all this glory swallowed up in shame, 
need not now be set forth by me. She came to the 
throne of grace, not with the humility of a creature, 
(which the holy angels well understand, and deeply feel) 
but with the humility of a sinner, pleading only, the 
only true plea, — 

il Dust and ashes is my name, 
My all is sin and misery ; — 
Friend of sinners, spotless Lamb, 
Thy blood was shed for me !" 

The pious reader has not read these memoirs in vain. 
There is no danger that such a one will fall into the 
mistake of Agrippa, who, while he contemplated the 
great character of St. Paul, shining through his chains, 
forgot who and where he was, and cried out, " Almost 
thou persuadest me to be a Christian !" Nor will he 
need the gentle, but firm correction which the loving 
apostle gave to that prince, — " I would to God, that not 
only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both 
almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds i' 5 
thus intimating, that as " no man can call Jesus Lord, 
but by the Holy Ghost," so no man can be a Christian, 
but by being created anew in Christ Jesus.* 

Before honour is humility. The humility that belongs 
lo man, as a sinner, we have already noted. It has in it 

* See Mr. Wesley's admirable note on tie pgstage. AcU %xy'<„ 29, 

S7»* 



438 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII, 

the sentence of death. A heartfelt acknowledgment, 
that it is just this sentence should take place, and that 
in us dwelleth no good thing, is that humility which is alone 
founded in truth. Blessed are they who are thus " poor 
in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," — even 
" righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 
These " unsearchable riches of Christ" are made theirs 
by the " Holy Ghost, who glorifies the Saviour." Mrs. 
Fletcher's heart was thus, like Lydia's, opened, and 
" filled with peace and joy in believing." And she 
never lost the heavenly blessing. She kept her poverty, 
and she retained her kingdom. 

Like her admirable husband, Mrs. Fletcher did not 
rest satisfied with being " plucked as a brand from the 
burning : — she had not so learned Christ. Leaving 
therefore the principles of the doctrine of Christ, she 
went on unto perfection." Her eyes seemed ever fixed 
on " the robe washed and made white in the blood of 
the Lamb. The work of the Holy Ghost, sanctifying the 
believer, body, soul, and spirit," she knew was as ne- 
cessary to eternal salvation, as the work of the Saviour 
upon the cross. The Lord put that cry into her heart, 

"Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
Be to me what Adam lost !" 

Nor did she forget that " far more exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory," that is become the privilege of believ- 
ers, in consequence of God the Son, and not Adam, being 
now the Head of the human race. " Beholding with un- 
veiled face this glory of the Lord," in the salvation of 
guilty and sinful man, 

" Her soul broke out in strong desire, 
The perfect bliss to prove : 
Her longing heart was all on fire, 
To be renew'd in love." 

A good judge of religion, as exhibited in the gracious 
recovery of fallen man,* being, many years ago, asked 

* The Rev. John Owen, some time Mr. Fletcher's curate. A gentlemaffi 
werward well known, and highly respected in India, and in England 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 439 

his opinion of the Vicar of Madely, replied, — " There is 
no occasion of stumbling in him. Set down any of the 
scriptural marks of a Christian, or a true Christian mi- 
nister, and I will engage he will not be found deficient." 
We know there are strong portraits in the sacred word, 
drawn by the pencil of truth, of those who " added to 
their faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to know- 
ledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to 
patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, 
and to brotherly kindness charity :" and I believe the 
pious reader of her life will not be disposed to doubt, 
that these things were evidently in Mrs. Fletcher also, and 
that they abounded ; making her neither barren nor unfruit- 
ful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

No man could better detect the deceitfulness of 
the human heart, even in those who are religiously dis- 
posed, than her admirable husband has done ; especi- 
ally when treating his favourite subject, — (the subject 
also of his Divine Master in his sermon on the Mount,) 
Christian Perfection. Addressing those whom he calls, 
" Perfect Christian Pharisees," — he observes, — " Ye 
are most ready to profess Christian Perfection, though, 
alas ! ye stand at the utmost distance from perfect hu- 
mility, the grace most essential to the Christian cha- 
racter. — You have professedly entered into the fold 
where Christ's sheep, who are perfected in love, rest 
all at each other's feet, and at the feet of the Lamb of 
God. But how have you entered ? Not by " Christ the 
door," for Christ is " meekness and lowliness" manifested 
in the flesh ; but ye are still ungentle, and fond of praise^ 
Your proud minds are above stooping low to follow 
Him, who " made himself of no reputation," that he 
might raise us to heavenly honours ; and who, to pour 
just contempt on human pride, had his first night's lodg- 
ing in a stable, and spent his last night partly on the cold 
ground in an agony, and partly in an ignominious con- 
finement, exposed to the greatest indignities. He rested 
his infant head upon hay, his dying head upon thorns. 



440 THE LIFE OP [PART VIII. 

A manger was his cradle, and a cross his death bed. 
Thirty years he travelled from the sordid stable to the 
accursed tree. — Shepherds were his first attendants, and 
malefactors his last companions. 

" Now far from practising with godly sincerity 
either his first lesson, " Blessed are the poor in spirit," 
or those which he afterward inculcated, ye abhor peni- 
tential poverty. Your humility is not cordial. You 
are humble in looks, in gestures, in voice, in dress, 
in behaviour, from motives of Pharisaic ambition. 
But ye continue strangers to the unaffected simplicity 
and lowliness of Christ's perfect disciples. Ye choose 
the lowest place, but ye do not love it. If you cheer- 
fully take it, it is not among your equals, but your inferiors : 
and because you hope that men will say to you, " come 
up higher." — Ye still aim at some wrong mark. Ye 
have a narrow contracted spirit. Ye do not gladly sacri- 
fice your private satisfaction, your interest, your reputa- 
tion, your prejudices, to the general interest of truth and 
love, and to the public good of the whole body of Christ." 
Let Mrs. Fletcher be proved by these high princi- 
ples. How often, how continually, do we find her in 
these memoirs, trying herself by, and aiming to, walk ac- 
cording to them! How constantly did she struggle 
against the root of all this corruption ! How persever- 
ingly did she eye the footsteps of her divine Master, 
making it the one desire of her whole life, — " to be con- 
formed to the image of the Son of God !" 

Many who have aimed at living unto God, according 
to the full spiritual rule of the Gospel, have been some- 
times charged with neglecting, or lightly esteeming, the 
Divine Atonement. This is certainly true of several 
eminent persons, who have in this way of defective faith, 
professed to " follow on to know the Lord." Very cele^ 
brated names, and in whom was found much of the Christ- 
ian character, have thus " gone about to establish their 
own righteousness ;" and in a way so refined, that they 
seemed to defy detection, But have they not " laboured 



PART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 44 J 

in vain, and spent their strength for naught ?" Has not a 
spirit of bondage been manifest in their approaches to 
God, and in their religious communion with men ? True 
repose, and liberty of spirit, while contending against sin, 
can only be found in " the blood of the covenant." If 
our abode be not the horrible pit of guilt and corruption, 
shall we not walk in the miry day of doubt and fear, if 
we thus forsake " the strong rock ?" I trust the pious 
reader has seen that Mrs. Fletcher never forsook it ; 
never gave place to this refined temptation. As she 
•' magnified the law and made it honourable," as the rule 
of life, so she magnified that perfect and infinitely meri- 
torious « sacrifice, offered to God, through the eternal 
Spirit." It was her all in all, whether as " a babe in 
Christ," holding him with a trembling hand, or as "a 
mother in Israel, established, strengthened, and settled. 
The language of her heart was, throughout her whole 
course, Every moment, Lord, I want the merit of thy 
death. 

Of her ordinary walk, the most competent witness 
now alive, has in the fulness of her heart, given us 
some striking particulars. Speaking of her domestic 
life, Miss Tooth observes,—" She was one of a thou- 
sand, as of mercy, so of economy ; always sparing of 
expense upon herself, that she might have the more to 
give to the household of faith." She would often say, 
" God's receivers upon earth, are Christ's church, 
and his poor." When I have proposed the purchase of 
some article of clothing for her, she would ask, " Is it 
quite necessary ? If not, do not buy it ; it will be much 
better to give the money to some of our poor neighbours, 
than to lay it out upon me." Nor was this once only : 
it was invariably her conduct, and with great truth it 
might be constantly said of her also, that 

" AYhat her charity impairs, 
She saves by prudence in affairs." 

" She was always remarkably exact in setting down 
every penny she expended. She kept four different a^ 



442 THE LIFE OF [PART VlH. 

counts, in which all she spent was included. These four 
were, the house, sundries, clothes, and poor. We have 
often at the end of the year been astonished to find the 
house expenses so small, considering how many had 
shared with us. At such times, she has said, " It is the 
Lord who has blessed our bread and water." I have, in 
former years, taken up the book in which she kept her 
accounts, and wept over it, with the consideration, that 
1 should one day probably have to settle it alone ; and now 
I drink of the bitter cup. A few days ago, I entered up- 
on the work ; and I think it right, as a confirmation of 
what I have before advanced, to state the difference be- 
tween the expenses of her clothes, and what she dis- 
pensed to the poor. On making up the account of her 
apparel, I found the whole year's expenditure amounted 
to nineteen shillings and sixpence ; this was every pen- 
ny that had been laid out on her own person for the whole 
year. The expense was not always so small, but I be- 
lieve it never amounted to five pounds. 

" I then made up the poor's account, and found the 
amount to be 1811. 16s. Id. Thus liberally had she dis- 
pensed abroad. But her desire of communicating com- 
fort to the afflicted was very extensive : I do not think 
she ever heard of a person in distress, but, if in her power 
to do it, she by some means contrived to send relief. To 
comfort the distressed, was always a real comfort to her. 
With regard to this world's wealth, it was no more to her, 
than the dust on the balance. She has often said, an d I an * 
sure with great truth, ' Gold is no more to me than dust ; 
the gold of Ophir, than the stones of the brook.' At 
another time she would say, ' It is not so important what 
we have, as how we use it.' 

" Her love to every one was so abundant, that she was 
unwilling to find a fault in any. She was ever desirous 
of casting the mantle of love over the failings of others, 
if the truth would admit of it. And while her kindness 
was thus extensively manifested to all with whom she had 
any intercourse, her gratitude to others, who showed 



FART VIII.] MRS. FLETCHER. 443 

marks of love to her, was no less. When her kind friends 
sent her any thing they thought would be acceptable, it 
was her study to think how she could return them an 
equal token of love ; and if nothing was brought to her 
mind to do for them at the time, she would say, ' Well, 
if I can do no more, I can pray for them.' I never knew 
her sit down to partake of any thing that was the gift of a 
friend, without first praying for the donor. 

" And while her gratitude to the creature was thus evi- 
dently discerned, her praise and thanksgiving to the Crea- 
tor was abundant. Indeed she lived in the spirit of praise, 
frequently saying, < What blessings has the Lord bestowed 
upon me ! How comfortable has he made me in my old 
age ; though I am left here, and my dearly beloved hus- 
band, and my Sally, in glory, yet I know no lack. And 
such a loving people ! — I may well say, J dwell among 
ray own people .' " 

To this loving faith she added courage. This is very 
conspicuous in her whole life. The righteous, says Solo- 
mon, is bold as a lion. This quality it is well known was 
possessed in a very high degree, by her admirable hus- 
band. He was valiant for the truth, and a terror to evil 
doers. Mrs. Fletcher was not less so, allowing for the- 
ditTerence of her sex. As a fruit of this Christian cou- 
rage, a noble ingenuousness was found in them both. Mr. 
Fletcher's striking and bold discourse against Popery, 
(which had lamentably embued his parish, before his in- 
duction,) when, after some years, it again reared its head, 
is well known to the readers of his Life. Mrs. Fletcher 
had this enemy to encounter also, but in a milder shape. 
We joyfully allow that Popery has had (and we doubt 
not still has) its true saints. It must be so while it con- 
tinues sound in the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Atone- 
ment. Those in that church who are led by the Spirit of 
God, will thus find some portions of the bread of life, 
amidst the mountains of chaff which satisfy earthly minds, 
and operate as poison on those who love to be deceived. 
IX could not be but that the Romish minister of Madely 



444 THE LIFE OF [PART VIII, 

should strive to gain a convert like Mrs. Fletcher. He 
presented many hooks to her, which were accompanied 
with long letters, and thus, with every appeareance of 
the most friendly regard, he strove to turn her from 
what he believed to be the error of her ways. But though 
her earthly head and shield had been withdrawn, the 
zealous pastor found he had not a flighty, uninformed, 
or unstable Christian to deal with. Her short answers, 
(short when compared with the letters which she had 
received) fully exhibiting the Christian spirit, may be 
found in the Appendix, No. 1. 

If we look at what may be called her public life, — a long 
life, filled with the work of faith, the patience of hope, and 
the labour of love ; — we cannot but observe, how carefully 
she attended to that sacred warning, given to all who are 
called to the arduous duty of saving souls from death : 
They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my oven vineyard 
have I not kept. We have seen how great, how constant, 
how persevering, even to the close of life, were her 
loving exertions ; but did they ever prevent, or weaken 
in her mind, the great duty of self-examination ? No : 
her eye seemed fixed on the apostle's words, — " I there 
fore so run, not as uncertainly ; so fight I, not as one 
that beateth the air : but i keep under my body, and 
bring it into subjection ; lest that by any means, when I 
have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away." 

I am sensible that I here tread on tender ground. The 
question of the lawfulness, or even of the expediency of 
female preaching, will recur to every sensible and pious 
reader ; — especially as Mrs. Fletcher lived and died a 
member of the Church of England, and of the Methodist 
Society, neither of which sanctions a female ministry. 
But I cannot but think that much that has been said on 
this question, especially since the days of George Fox, 
(when the ministry of females received a regular estab- 
lishment in his community) may be spared on this occa- 
sion. Mrs. Fletcher has already spoken on this subject, 
(page 137,) and every candid reader has, I believe, felt 



PART VIII. J MRS. FLETCHER, -lie 

the modesty ami simplicity of that short statement. In 
truth, her preaching was but an enlargement of her daily 
and hourly conversation. Her family — her visiters, might 
be said to be her constant congregation. And as she 
never, in her more public efforts, meddled with the 
government of the church, — usurped authority over the 
man, or made any display of a regular or authoritative 
commission, but merely strove to " win souls, by pure- 
ness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by 
the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, 
by the power of God ;" — while she was herself the least 
and the servant of all : may not every pious Churchman 
and Methodist, unite and say,— Would to God that all the 
Lord's people were such prophets, and prophetesses. 

Mr. Wesley, who never sanctioned a regular ministry 
of that kind, permitted, and it may be said, encouraged 
her Christian efforts in that way. Her conflicts were 
very great concerning her call in that respect ; and the 
taunts which she had to endure from men, were very 
painful. These she at length embodied in a letter to Mr t 
Wesley, declaring her willingness to abide by his deci- 
sion ; and that she would gladly resist this impression, if 
the Lord should so direct her by him. Mr. Wesley, 
who well knew her simplicity, godly sincerity, and admi- 
rable understanding, replied,—^" That he considered it 
to be an extraordinary call. — That he also looked upon 
'he whole work of God, termed Methodism, to be an 
extraordinary dispensation. Therefore, 5 ' says he, " I do 
not wonder if several things occur therein, which do not 
fall under ordinary rules of discipline. St. Paul's ordi- 
nary rule was not to permit a woman to speak in the 
congregation $ yet in extraordinary cases he made a few 
exceptions." — Mrs. Fletcher thanked God for this an- 
swer, and continued her labours of love to the close of 
her life. 

As I think it probable that those readers whom I am 
most disposed to gratify, may indulge a wish, *ha + some 



446 THE LIFE OF MRS. FLETCHER. [PART VIII. 

specimen of her expounding on those occasions, were 
recorded, I am happy that I can meet those wishes. 
They will find, in the Appendix, No. 2, some thoughts 
left by her, which may give some idea of her manner of 
teaching. — Behold her then sitting modestly in the corner 
of her large room, with the crowded assembly, (among 
whom were not unfrequently some ministers of eminent 
piety and learning,) hanging on her lips ! — It has been 
said, that she was rather too fond of spiritualizing ; I am 
therefore not sorry that the discourse which I am thus 
enabled to give, is of that kind. I think the sensible 
reader will not pronounce that there is any thing to blame 
in this specimen ; but will rather think that the subject 
is soberly treated, and with a due restraint on the imagi- 
nation. It is however only the outline ; the enlargement, 
the colouring, the unction, the life, are not there. These 
are gone ! The place of this evangelical prophetess 
knows her no more ! But she lives, and her name is as 
ointment poured forth. — She rests from her labours, and 
her works do follow her. She sees them not ; she sees 
only the Lamb of God ! But he sees them all : not o?ie 
of them is forgotten before God. — They will appear to 
assembled worlds in that day when the books shall be 
opened ; and being wrought in God, they shall be found 
iinto praise, and honour, and glory. 



END OF THE EIGHTH PART, 



APPENDIX. 

NO. I. 



Rev. Sir, 

J\_S there is no act of friendship greater than to care 
for the immortal soul, I consider myself as truly indebted 
"o you for the kind concern you have expressed for mine. 
I have read your letter, and also the two books you were 
so kind as to send me ; but bear with me, Sir, if I say, 
I cannot be of your mind, — viz. " That no one can be 
saved out of the Church of Rome if they have opportu- 
nity of being instructed by it." I consider myself as a 
weak and unworthy member of the true Church, which, 
I believe to be the whole body of true believers scattered 
over all the earth ; who having experienced, (or who 
are earnestly seeking so to do,) the new birth mentioned 
by our Lord in the third chapter of St. John's Gospel, 
feel that they who are in Christ are new creatures ; and 
who rely on the Lord Jesus our great atonement, alone, 
for pardon and acceptance; though also conscious, that 
without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Now these 
sincere followers of the Saviour I consider as the true 
Church, whether in England, Rome, or any other part of 
the world. I acknowledge the word Protestant was not 
used till Luther's time ; but the truths we contend for, I 
date from the time of our Lord and his apostles. I be- 
lieve, that after a certain season, the falling away, foretold 
by St. Paul, 2 Thessalonians, 2 chap, verse 3, took place, 
and a flood of error overspread almost all the Christian 
world ; only a little branch remaining in small companies, 
against whom the gates of hell did not prevail, though 
oppressed on all sides, till the Lord found an hiding place 
for the woman in the wilderness, at that time which we 
call the Reformation. 

" If the authority of the church really springs from 
St.- Peter, I apprehend it remained with those faithful 



44o APPENDIX, NO. I. 

souk who abode in their primitive simplicity when the 
Test were carried away. But permit me to say, I lay 
no more stress on St. Peter, than I do on the other 
apostles, for it is plain our Lord gave afterward the 
same authority to them all ; and it is certain St. Paul 
did not acknowledge that St. Peter had any pre-emi- 
nence over the rest, for he claimed an equality with all 
the apostles, (Gal. i. 15 — 17.) and upon one occasion 
•withstood St. Peter to the face,' Gal. ii. 11. With 
regard to the doctrine of Calvin, which represents the 
God of love in a very wrong light, I therein agree with 
you, and mourn that so many good men do hold it. 
Had not Christ died for all, the apostles could not have 
been commanded " to preach the Gospel to every crea- 
ture." However, I believe we must all receive the 
Saviour in a double sense, as given for its, and as living 
■in us; — that we are entirely forgiven for his sake, and 
must also have a change into his nature, as he himself 
said in the mission which He gave to St. Paul, Acts 
ixvi. 17, 18. ' That they may be brought from the 
power of Satan unto God, — that they may receive for- 
giveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are 
sanctified by faith that is in me.' 

" O Sir, may this loving faith-producing holiness be 
found in you and me ! For if we are not one with Christ, 
as ' the branch is with the vine,' continually drawing life 
from him, we cannot be saved, whatever church we 
belong to. I thank you for telling me you will remember 
me before the throne ; give me leave to say, I feel my- 
self led to do the same for you : and if we are both 
found on the right foundation, and meet in glory, how 
sweetly shall we forget the name of Romanist and Pro- 
•estant, and, in one voice, unite in perpetual ' Hallelujahs 
'O God and the Lamb for ever !' 

" I am, Rev. Sir, 

' Your obliged servant, 

i: MA.RY FLETCHERS 



APPENDIX, NO, I. 4iy 

" Rev. Sir, 

" ALL you say of the importance 
of the soul and eternal things, I most heartily agree 
with you in, and sincerely desire to turn my back on 
earth, and choose Jesus as my only portion. But, O Sir, 
bear with me when I say I cannot be of your mind, nor 
receive your church as truly catholic. You say, ' She 
is one, whereas we are divided into many." Alas! how 
can she appear otherwise, when no member dares to 
speak his mind for fear of an inquisition ? If all hearts 
were known, how many opinions would be found among 
you ? But even this appearance was not always, for at 
times you have had more Popes than one, and each had 
his own party. There were then divisions and disorders. 
I do not say this by way of reproach. No ; in every 
church there are tares as well as wheat ; only I mean 
you are not free from division any more than we are, 
although force renders it more concealed. 

" Again, I cannot but greatly object to your doctrine 
of indulgence. Perhaps you will say, that is now given 
up, as the Council of Trent disapproved of it. But why 
given up ? If only because of the offence, then you still 
hold the same opinion. Alas ! how hurtful and offensive 
to the God of purity! So a man may, for giving alms to 
the poor, &c. &c. commit his favourite iniquity, and it 
shall not be imputed to him as sin ! Ah, no ! ' Without 
holiness none shall see the Lord,' whatever indulgences 
he may procure. As to the righteousness of other saints 
being imputed to him, is not this like saying, ' Give us of 
your oil, for our lamps are gone out ?' But, perhaps you 
say, No, not so ; we have given it up, because we see it 
wrong, and an error. Well, if you have, I am glad of 
it. But in that case, Sir, permit me to ask, How can 
your Popes be infallible, who have maintained so sad an 
error for so many years ? 

" After I began my letter, I recollected that there 
were in the house two little tracts, one a Roman Catholic 

38* 



450 APPENDIX, NO* i 

Catechism, and a Reply ; the other eatitled, l Popery 
calmly considered.'* I looked for, and read them, and 
as they contain some of the ideas I was about to mention, 
I make i'ree to send them, as writing is difficult to me, 
being very infirm. I have also inclosed an extract of 
the Life of M. de Renty, as a proof I love holiness 
wherever I find it. It is a book I much love. I have 
also put in an account of a young woman I much loved > 
which 1 think you will like. You may keep these books 
as long as. you please, as I suppose your time is much 
taken up. The three books you lent me I have perused, 
I trust they were real conversions. By real conversions 
I mean, from < the kingdom of Satan to that of God's 
dear Son ;' and I do not wonder those persons embraced 
an offer which appeared to be a refuge from the world 
and sin, when they seemed to be surrounded with 
nothing but carnal professors. 

" I cannot conclude our correspondence, Sic, without 
once more thanking you for your kind concern and 
prayers ; and though we differ in some sentiments, if we 
.-igree in an earnest desire to know and do the ' whole 
will of God,' I can embrace you as. a brother in the 
Lord, and regard you as such. One day I put this 
question to myself, If Mr. = was to become pos- 
sessed of civil power, and when he found, after all his 
pains, I could not see in his light, he should believe it to 
be his duty to consume me at a stake, — could I love him 
ihen? After a moment's pause, I replied, Yes, — if I 
really thought he believed it to be his duty, I could, 
honour the upright intention, though I should see the 
action wrong. Christ shed his own blood for men ; 
but Antichrist sheds the blood of others. Yet, whatever 
I might suifer ; I love an upright intention wherever 

! see it.j 

'■' I am, Rev. Sir, 

46 Your obliged servant, 

" MARY FLETCHER.'^ 

"BvM^Wf'H. -W * These tetters have no dale Ed- 



( 451 



APPENDIX, NO. II. 

Acts xxvii. 29. They cast four anchors out of the stern, 
and wished for the day. 

The situation of the ship wherein Paul and his com- 
panions. were, seems to me to illustrate the state and 
situation of many of us here. We are told, There arose 
a. tempestuous wind, called, in that country, Euroclydon — a 
kind of hurricane, not carrying the ship any one way s 
but driving her backwards and forwards with great vio- 
lence. So it is in general with those who enter on the 
voyage of life. Satan, who is called the prince of the 
power. of the air, and who ruleth in the hearts of the children 
of disobedietice, keeps the mind in a continual agitation. 
Sometimes they are sunk, and almost crushed, under a 
weight of care ; and again raised high on the waves of 
some expected pleasure. One while they are filled with 
resentment, on account of some slight from a neighbour, 
or an unjust accusation from an enemy ; while the mind 
is harrassed with the imagination, how it shall be cleared. 
Sometimes the most idle and extravagant fancies so 
deeply involve it, that no message from heaven can find 
anymore entertainment, than the Saviour could find in 
the inn at Bethlehem. By all this, the soul becomes 
restless, and knows not where it is, nor which way it is 
going. It does not feel that it is in a state of probation, 
and that this trial is to fix its eternal lot. Dear souls, is 
not this the case with some of you ? You do not know 
where you are — you do not consider this may be your last 
night, perhaps your last hour. Your eternal state will 
then be fixed for ever. If the Lord should call you this 
hour, are you ready ? O remember, it is the word of 
Jehovah himself, " The ox knoweth his- owner, and the 
ass his master's crib, but Israel doth not know— my peo- 
ple doth not consider.'' Again, do you know where yon 
are going ? Why, you are going the broad road; you are 
going to hell as fast as you can. It is a narrow zz<ay that 
leads to heaven, and you do not know one step of it. 



452 APPENDIX, NO. 17, 

You have not began to walk therein, nor perhaps to 
think about it. O that you were wise, that you understood 
this, that you would consider your latter end! It may be 
you find a great many things to divert and take up your 
mind ; it is employed by Satan from hour to hour. You 
are like the disobedient prophet, asleep in the ship whe?i 
a great storm lay upon them. You neither see nor know 
your danger. Are you the safer for this ? Would not 
those who are awake, cry out to such, Awake, thou 
sleeper, and call upon thy Ood ! Thou art on the very 
brink of destruction. Well then, permit me so to call 
upon you, lest when we meet at the great day, you 
should upbraid me that I had once an opportunity of 
warning you, and that I did it but by halves ; and so the 
blood of your souls should be found in my skirts. I fear 
for many in this parish. My soul oft weeps in secret for 
them, lest the word which to others proves the savour of 
life, should to them become the savour of death, and rise 
up in judgment against them. 

But 1 hope you, who are this night within the reach of 
my voice, are in a degree awakened, and most of you 
earnestly longing to be brought out of the storm into the 
quiet harbour of Jesu's breast. To these I chiefly feel 
my message to be, though I was not willing to leave the 
sleepers wholly disregarded. Well, let us see what they 
did in this great danger, that we may do likewise. Paul 
says, " As we were exceedingly tossed with a tempest, 
the next day we lightened the ship, and the third day we 
cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 
And as neither sun nor stars appeared for many days,* 
and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of being saved 
was taken away." Observe, first, they lightened the 
ship,— lighten your hearts ! There is too much of the 
world in them. They cast out their merchandise — cast 
away your idols ! You will say, perhaps, " I cannot." 
True ; I know you cannot yourselves ; but if you will 

^ * Which was the more terrible, the use of the compass not being them 
♦Jiscovered. 



APPENDIX, NO. If. i5.1 

gallon the Lord in the time of trouble, he hath said, 1 will 
hear thee, and thou shalt glorify mc. If you will begin to 
pray in good earnest, and persevere therein, as the Lord 
is true, you shall know the liberty of his children, and 
have power to cast all your idols to the moles, and to the 
bats. Well, but on the third day they cast out the tackling 
of the ship : — the very thing which we might think they 
would have kept, in order to manage the vessel. No, 
all must go ! Cast away your false confidence in any 
thing of your own ; despair of any help but from the 
Lord Jesus. Yet obey his word ; Look, remember He 
3ays, look unto me, and be ye saved : yea, look unto him as 
the author and finisher of your faith. Wait upon him ; 
and remember the mind is the mouth of the soul— there- 
fore, according as you feed your mind with thoughts, so 
will the state of your soul be discovered. Look, I say^ 
unto him, and your soul shall ride out the storm. 

And now a gleam of hope appears. Paul stood up and 
said, "Be of good courage— for there shall be no loss of 
any life among you. The angel cf that God, whose I 
am, and whom 1 serve, stood by me this night, and said, 
Fear not, Paul, thou must be presented before Cesar, 
and, lo, I have given thee all them that sail with thee." 
So may hope spring up to thee this present moment, 
whether thou art a poor backslider, or one of the ship's 
company, who till this very hour hast been fast asleep ; 
but if now awake, if now in earnest, and willing to be 
saved, come a step further yet, and observe what they 
did nest. They cast four anchors, out of the stern, and 
wished for day. There is no day tothe soul till Christ ma- 
nifests his cheering presence. In order to wait for that, 
follow their example — they cast out four anchors. Let us 
do so this night. Remember it is your part to believe, 
and it is the Lord's to give the peace and joy consequent 
on believing. Let us then make repeated acts of faith, so 
casting our anchor furtherand further within the vail, and 
we shall draw up our souls nearer and nearer to God. 

VYeli, let us try to cast out one anchor now. I aJ». 



454 APPENDIX, NO. II. 

sensible your cable is short, therefore we must seek lbi" 
some ground as near you as we can. We will try, if we 
can, to find it in the Creating love of God, surrounding us 
on every side. Look through the creation, — observe 
:he tender love of the birds toward their young, yea, 
even the most savage beasts ! From whence does this 
spring ? It is from God. It is a shadow of that infinite 
compassion which reigns in His heart. Rise a little 
higher. Fix your eye on man. How does he love a 
stubborn son who will neither serve God nor him ? 
Trae, he frowns on him, and corrects him, lest it should 
be said to him as to Eli, Thou preferest thy son before me. 
— But if that son shed but a tear of sorrow, — raise hut a 
sigh of repentance, — if he but come a few steps, how 
does the father's bowels yearn toward him ! How doth 
he ran to meet him ! Now carry the idea a little higher ; 
— are ye not the offspring of God ? Has he not said, " I 
have created thee for my glory, I have formed thee for 
my praise ?" Is not " his mercy over all his works ?" 
Believe then, that this " Author of all love, is more 
ready to give the Holy Spirit to you, than you are to give 
good gifts to your children." Will not this anchor take ? 
Does it still come home ? Well, the ground is good, but 
your cable is too short. Let us try another anchor ; — 
and we will drop it on Redeemi7ig love. 

Lift up your eyes of faith, — behold your bleeding Sa- 
viour ! See all your sins hiid on his sacred head ! Be- 
hold him as your surety before the Throne, and hear him 
plead, — " 1 have tasted death for every man. Thou, 
Father, wast in me reconciling the world to thyself, 
not imputing their trespasses to them." I stood before 
thee, charged with them all. If this poor soul, who 
cries for mercy, is deeply in debt to thee, place it to my 
account ; J will repay. Now venture on him, venture 
freely. He hath drank all the bitter cup for you, and 
he offers this night to take you into fellowship and 
communion with himself, " He was delivered for your 
offences ! He hath cancelled all the charge against 



APPENDIX, NO. II. 455 

you ; yea, u He was raised again for your justification." 
Your Surety is exalted in proof that your debt is paid. 
Come, let me hear some voice among you giving praise, 
and saying with the Christian poet, — 

" Now I have found the ground wherein 
Sure my soul's anchor may remain, 
The wounds of Jesus for my sin, 
Before the world's foundation slain." 

Methinks this anchor will hold. — Is there not an in- 
crease of hope ? Hearken ! You shall hear his voice. 
Himself hath said, " Hear, O my people, and I will speak?" 
Heaven is never dumb, but when man hardens his 
heart. 

But, perhaps there is some poor trembling souls still 
Left behind. For the sake of such, we will try to find 
firm ground a little nearer yet. We will drop our third 
anchor on the Promises. Here are some quite within 
your reach, " He that cometh unto me, I will in no wise 
cast out. Whosoever will, let him take of the water of 
life freely. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners 
to repentance." Yes, He came to seek and to save that 
which is lost. Are you lost ? Lost in your own estima- 
tion ? Then he came to save you. Yes, and to seek 
you too ; — and he seeks you this night as diligently as 
ever shepherd sought his lost sheep. Will you be found 
of him ? Yes, if you will believe in his love. Remem- 
ber,- — ; ' He willeth not the death of a sinner ; but had 
rather he would turn from his wickedness and live." And 
though it should appear to thee as if a mountain stood 
in the way, yet this is the word of truth, — If thou 
canst believe ; all things are possible to him thai believeth. 
Thou shalt say to this mountain.. Depart, and it shall be 
done. There is no getting one step forward in the hea- 
venly road without courage, or, in other words, faith ; 
and 1 trust there are here many whose anchor has held 
in the first ground, Creating love, more in the second, 
Redeeming love, and surely trembling sinners have found 
some hold in the Promises. The Word of God is full of 



156 APPENDIX, NO. II. 

them, and they are all for you. All belong to a wounded 
conscience — to sinners seeking the power of faith, to 
conquer their sins, and bring them to God. But yet I 
fear there may be a feeble-minded one who is still left 
behind, and I am unwilling any should remain in dark- 
ness, when Christ offers them light. But, perhaps such 
will say, — " O, I am an ungrateful sinner. I have 
turned away my eyes from Jesus. The world, and the 
wild imaginations of my polluted affections have stolen 
between me and the Saviour. Once " the candle of the 
Lord did shine upon my head !" But now he is gone ; 
my beloved hath withdrawn himself, and I am again shorn 
of my strength, and feeble as another man. Well, do not 
despair. Thy soul shall yet ride the storm. There is 
vet one anchor more, but it is possible you will not all 
admire it. Some will cry out, Is that all? O, it is too 
low. But let me tell you, low as you esteem it, because 
it seems within your reach, it will rise to the highest 
mansion in heaven. It is, I own, a little dark at the 
first view, but the more you look upon it, the brighter it 
will grow. Remember it was the sound of a rani's horn, 
and the shovt of human voices, that shook the mighty walls 
ofJerico. God delights to do great things by little means. 
The name then of my fourth anchor is Resignation, 
and there is a motto engraved thereon, " In quietness and 
confidence shall thy strength be." You that are asleep 
have nothing to do with this : but you who are awake, 
and groaning for the salvation you have forfeited, — You 
are invited, nay, commanded to cast it out. You have 
fallen by a worldly spirit, and by indulging a busy aftd 
idolatrous imagination. Come then, let this be the mo- 
ment ! Now cast your whole soul, — your everlasting 
concerns, on the free unmerited love of the Saviour, and 
live upon — Thy will be done ! Let your soul cry out, 
" I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have 
sinned against him." Abandon yourself, as a victim, into 
his hand, and there lie as clay before the potter. If you 
are tempted because yot! cannot pray, let this be your 



APPENDIX, NO. II. A-, it 

prayer,— let the constant cry of your heart be, — Thy 
will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. And take 
knowledge, while you are so doing, your prayer is 
echoed by the highest archangel in heaven ; for the glory 
of that bright abode is a perfect resignation, fully consist- 
ent with the most faithful activity. You are permitted 
to pray, — Father, let this cup pass from me, — Yet, while 
-you add, not my will, but Thy will be done, 3-ou join in 
spirit, with the Saviour and Captain of your salvation. I 
have often found, in an hour of temptation, when no 
other anchor seemed to hold, that thought, the Lord 
reigneth ; his will and glory shall be accomplished, and 
in that T will rejoice, has brought peace, and laid the 
storm. Lie down at his dear feet, and remember, " Whom 
he loveth, he chasteneth, and correcteth every son whom 
he receiveth." He brings your sins to your remem- 
brance, that your soul may be brought to know its misery 
and wants, and in order that he may burn them up wi th- 
ine purifying fire of his love. Take courage then, and, 
with one voice, let us all unite in the cry, — Thy will be 
done ! Thy will be done .' And our song shall be echoed 
through all the courts above. Here then drop your 
anchor. It is sound ground, and it will not come home. 
With this patient faith, therefore, be found in all the 
means of grace, walking humbly, while you do his will. 
i: And pleading the promises, which are yea and amen in 
Christ. Blessed are all they who wait for him." 

We read of Paul's company, — That they cast out four 
anchors and wished for the day. Do you the same, for 
that is a wish very pleasing to the Lord. I observed 
before, — That it is not day-light with the soul till that 
promise is accomplished, I will manifest myself unto him. 
Here is the great design of the wonderful plan of salva- 
tion, — to restore man to his original communion with 
God ; and he who hath said, / will give unto him that is 
athirst of the water of life freely, — now waits to make your 
souls his loved abode, the temple of indwelling God. 

39 



r. o 



JO APPENDIX, NO. II. 



There is a rest which remains for the people of God .; 
and you who love the Lord, remember, He came no 
only that you might have life, but that you may have it 
more abundantly. Cry, my beloved friends, day and 
night, that you may " enter into the land of uprightness, 
on which the eyes of the Lord are continually" from the 
beginning of the year to the end. But when the people 
of Israel slighted the rest of Canaan, and had lost that 
courage by which alone they could enter, — how greatly 
did it offend the Lord ! And will he approve lazy dull 
seekers of that spiritual Canaan, that Baptism of the spirit 
to which every believer is expressly called ? We often 
talk of the time when righteousness is to overspread- the 
earth,but this millennium must overspread our own hearts, 
if we would see the face of God with joy. For the very 
end of our creation is, that we may become the habitation 
of God through the Spirit. 



MXIS. 



LIST OF BOOKS. 

THE following BOOKS are published under the patronage andfor the u«e 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the United States of America, and 
to be had of J. Soule and T. Mason, No. 41 John-Street, New-York? 
Superintendents of the Book Business for the said Methodist Church , 
and of the Ministers and Preachers in their several Circuits. 

Coke's Commentary on the New Testament, 2 vols. 4to. $2G 

Wesley's Notes on do. 2 vols, in one 3 

Quarto Bibles 7 

Wesley's Sermons, a new edition, 3 vols, octavo. 7 

Wood's Dictionary of the Bible, 2 vols.. 5 

Fletcher's Checks, 6 vols 5 

Manner's Observations, 4 vols, o ctavo, by Adam Clarke, 

LL.D 10 

Benson's Sermons, 1 vol. octavo ~ 

Life of the Rev. Thomas Coke, LL. D. neatly boundand 

lettered, with an engraving. 2 

Wesley on Original Sin 1 12j- 

Benson's Life of Fletcher „ 1 

Portraiture of Methodism. 1 

Experience of several eminent Methodist Preachers, a 

new and enlarged edition 1 

The Experience and Ministerial Labours of several emi- 
nent Methodist Preachers 1 

The Saints Everlasting Rest. 1 

Methodist Hymns, two books bound together 87 j; 

Hervey's Meditations 87 ~ 

Experience and Letters of Hester Ann Rogers. ......... 75 

Law's Serious Call to a Holy Life 75 

Doctrinal Tracts. 75 

Fletcher's Appeal to Matter of Fact and Common Sense 75 

Introduction to Christianity 75 

Alleine's Alarm and Baxter's Call, lettered 62| 

Family Adviser and Primitive Physic, do , S2§ 

Sellou's Argumeiits on General Redemption 50 



2 



1 



Predestination Examined 50 

Memoirs of Mrs. Mary Cooper fi^f 

Causes, Evils, and Cures of Heart and Church Divisions 50 

Methodist Discipline 37 

Extract from John Nelson's Journal 37 A 

Confessions of James Lackington 25 

Thomas a Kempis, or Christian's Pattern 43| 

Mrs.,Ro\ve'5 Devout Exercises, abridged 31 £ 

A Scriptural Catechism 6~ 

Instructions for Children 6J 

As the profits of the above-mentioned Books are for the benefit 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, and to be 
applied to religious purposes, it is recommended to the Ministers 
and Members of the Church to promote the sale of said Books, and 
not to purchase any Books which we publish of any other person 
than the aforesaid J. Socle and T- Mason-, and the Methodist 
Ministers and Preachers, or such persons as sell them by their 
consent.